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The former Gunners midfielder thinks it will be difficult to prevent the club captain from leaving for Old Trafford after the 28-year-old struggled for regular games last season

Former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour believes that the Gunners will not stand in the way of Thomas Vermaelen if he decides to join Manchester United.

Goal understands that the club captain wants a fresh start after falling behind Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker in the pecking order, and is looking for a new club after making just 14 Premier League appearances this season.

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With only a year left on his contract, the Belgium international is understood to be valued at £8 million - and Parlour says that Arsene Wenger will find it difficult to prevent Vermaelen leaving should he wish to move to Old Trafford.

“Thomas Vermaelen wants to play football,” he told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show. “Last year he couldn’t get in the Arsenal side because Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny were superb at the back.

"Kieran Gibbs has improved so much he couldn’t even play him at left-back.

“When you get to a situation where a squad member wants to move, sometimes the player has more sway than the club itself.

“If he wants to play football, and an offer comes in from a club like Manchester United, then it’s hard for the club to say, ‘no, you can’t go there, we want to sell you to a club in Italy or Spain’.

“He was doing the captain’s notes last year in the Arsenal programme but not getting in the team. I can’t see that changing anytime soon. He wants to play first team football.”

The 28-year-old defender would be the latest in a long list of players who have departed the Emirates for Manchester, with Bacary Sagna signing a three-year deal with champions Manchester City after his Arsenal contract expired.

Robin van Persie joined United two summers ago and led the Red Devils to the 2012-13 title, while Gael Clichy, Kolo Toure, Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Adebayor have all left the Gunners for City in recent years.

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