Arsene Wenger has confirmed Manchester United has made a bid for Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen, though he would rather sell the defender to a foreign club.
Louis van Gaal is keen to strengthen his defense following the departures of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra, and Wenger has now confirmed that the Old Trafford club has submitted an offer for the Belgium international.
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However, Goal understands Vermaelen is facing a straight choice between Barcelona and United, with the Gunners captain having refused to sign a new contract at the Emirates Stadium, and Wenger admits that he would rather ship the Belgian abroad.
Wenger told reporters: "Manchester United are part of the group of bidders. He could leave.
"We have offers from abroad and ideally I would rather sell him to a club abroad. We're in a position where it's difficult to stand in his way."
Barcelona is keen to bolster its back line ahead of the team's bid to reclaim the La Liga title from Atletico Madrid and has identified Vermaelen - who made 21 appearances for the north Londoners last season - as a target ahead of the new season.
Meanwhile, Wenger confirmed that Arsenal has "more money to buy players now", having already acquired Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy, David Ospina and Calum Chambers, though he hinted that he could resist the urge to strengthen further.
"We have three and a half weeks until the transfer market closes - we could still strengthen, but we have a big squad," he said.