Man Utd still lead Vermaelen chase despite Barcelona interest

Louis van Gaal is eager for the Old Trafford club to push through a deal for the Arsenal centre-back, but the Catalans could still approach the Gunners this summer
By William Joyce

Manchester United remain confident of completing a deal to sign Thomas Vermaelen this summer, despite interest from Barcelona.

United are yet to agree a deal to sign the centre-back with Arsenal, but Goal understands the Old Trafford club have maintained their interest despite having enquiries regarding a €7.5 milllion bid knocked back.

Vermaelen is understood to be keen to leave Arsenal this summer, but Arsene Wenger wants to sign a replacement for the defender before they sanction his sale.

And Barca could yet complicate the deal after rekindling their long-standing interest in the former Ajax man, who has 12 months remaining on his current Arsenal contract.

The Catalan club recently completed the €20m signing of Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia, but are looking to bring in another defender this summer.

New United manager Louis van Gaal identified Vermaelen as a summer transfer target long before arriving at Old Trafford in July, and is eager for the club to push through a deal to sign the Belgium international.

Gunners boss Wenger has admitted Vermaelen, who has found himself behind first choice centre-back pairing Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny at Arsenal, could leave this summer.

"I cannot guarantee [that he will stay],” Wenger told reporters during pre-season. “But, should he go, I would bring another centre-back in for sure.”