What does Arsene Wenger think about selling Vermaelen to Manchester United?

Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen has been linked with a shock move to Manchester United.

A surprise report in The Mirror has claimed Manchester United are considering an attempt to try and sign Thomas Vermaelen from Arsenal this summer.

United bought Arsenal's captain Robin van Persie from them last summer, and after Vermaelen was appointed skipper in the wake of his departure, the transfer would see history repeating itself.

As the Mirror points out, there may be less resistance from Arsenal this time around, with the Belgian potentially causing a headache for manager Arsene Wenger.

After dropping him from the side and playing Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny as his first choice over their late unbeaten run, Vermaelen is no longer first choice, a no-no for a club captain.

Wenger therefore has a dilemma, does he keep Vermaelen, or does he strip him of the captaincy instead. Doing the latter may leave tension between the defender and the manager, so moving him on may be preferable.

All of this was unthinkable a year ago; Vermaelen had been outstanding for Arsenal over his three seasons at the club when fit, and a regular contributor in terms of goals.

Along with decidedly suspect defending at times this season however, the goals also dried up for the skipper.

But what about Manchester United? Surely not again?

Arsene Wenger took huge criticism from his club's own fans after selling Van Persie to United, with many objectors seeing it is proof the Gunners can no longer compete for the title, and lack the ambition to do so.

The Frenchman was asked last month if old rival Sir Alex Ferguson was interested in any more of his players,  his response was quite categorical.

Clearly stung by the criticism, he said: "I don’t know but he will not sign them from us."

It's key to point out of course that Ferguson is no longer United boss, but you imagine Wenger would apply the same logic to David Moyes and not lend him a helping hand, right?

The pro's and con's of selling Vermaelen are finely balanced, for the Gunners will have to go and buy a replacement - otherwise if one of Mertesacker or Koscielny were to get injured, the club would be looking at an inexperienced alternative.

The positives of a sale only work if Arsenal sell to a club outside the Premier League, where the Belgian is less likely to come back and haunt them. Barcelona, also thought to be interested, would be a logical solution and attractive proposition to the player where he could excel in their attacking style.

But given the fact Vermaelen is not seen as a key player these days, you might wonder quite what Arsene Wenger thinks about it all.

The decision rests with him, but even after his assurances about not selling another player to United, and false assurances past players will not leave, fans will be forgiven for having their doubts over the veracity of that statement.

Vermaelen to United? What do you think?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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