Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen could be on his way to Manchester United with Tom Cleverley heading to the Emirates as part of the deal. Manchester United are keen to spend £10m on the Belgian international, who is currently away on international duty at the World Cup. They are also willing to include Tom Cleverley, a player whom Arsene Wenger has been keeping tabs on for some time.
Vermaelen joined Arsenal in 2009 and he has made 110 appearances for the Gunners. He started his career well with the club but a number of injuries cost him his place at the North London side.
It could be a deal to suit all parties; Vermaelen has been surplus to requirements over the last few years after failing to cement a place in the first team due to the form of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
Manchester United are currently in need of defenders after losing Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in the summer. Vermaelen fits the bill due to his versatility as a central defender and a full back.
With a year left on his contract with Arsenal, it would be logical for Wenger to sell him this summer while he still has value and they can get money. There would be no issue of fitting in at Manchester United for Vermaelen. The 28-year-old has a close friendship with ex-Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie.
Manchester United will be looking to use England midfielder Tom Cleverley as bait for Arsenal. The 24-year-old, who has been regularly criticised for his performances, has shown flashes of being a good midfield player from time to time.
Arsenal have many midfielders in the similar mould to Cleverley, but if the rumours of a Santi Cazorla move to Atletico Madrid come to fruition, then he would be a decent replacement for the Spanish midfielder.
However good the money come to use for Arsenal, Wenger will receive a wave of criticism if he sells Vermaelen to Manchester United. Especially for Tom Cleverley, a midfielder who has been one of the most harshly lambasted footballers over the past few seasons.
In financial terms, it’s a good deal for Arsenal due to the fact Vermaelen’s contract is expiring. However, in footballing terms it is a poor deal for the club. Arsenal are not blessed with strength in depth defensively and Vermaelen has proved to be priceless asset when called upon during the absence of Koscielny and Mertesacker.
Meanwhile, they don’t need another midfielder like Tom Cleverley, and if Santi Cazorla did leave, they should be looking to replace him with a player of a similar standard - Cleverley falls some way short of that.
Of course the money would be of benefit to Arsenal if they use it to find a replacement for Bacary Sagna and Thomas Vermaelen. They certainly need strength in depth in defense because a lack of it at times has cost them over the last few years.