The reason why van Gaal sees Vermaelen as the perfect Man Utd defender

Thomas Vermaelen Pre FA Cup Press Conference

Manchester United have reportedly agreed a fee to sign Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen in a shock move.

The Gunners defender, 28, has found first team football hard to come by at the Emirates Stadium of late, as Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker have firmly established themselves as Arsene Wenger's first choice pairing at centre back, though he saw some limited time at left back after injuries to Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal.

The lack of opportunities has led to plenty of speculation that the Belgian international will look to leave North London this summer, but few expected him to make a move to Arsenal's rivals Manchester United.

Admittedly, the Red Devils need to sign centre backs after the departures of experienced duo Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, but the arrival of Vermaelen - a player who has been on the fringes of the Arsenal team and has been out of form for some time - is unlikely to appease the United fans who are expecting big name signings.

Yet whilst many United supporters are underwhelmed with Vermaelen's seemingly imminent arrival, there is something that people seem to have overlooked.

Dutch club Ajax run through Van Gaal's history and tactical approach. For many years, both Ajax and van Gaal have seen great benefits from using a ball playing defender; a defender who is comfortable with the ball at his feet, and can bring it out from the back.

Vermaelen spent almost ten years of his career with Ajax, and he is well-trained in the style of defensive play that van Gaal likes. He appears to be a great fit for what United and van Gaal currently desire, and his training with Ajax is no doubt a huge benefit for the new United boss.

In fact, with more defensive help still needed, it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen or Atletico Madrid's Toby Alderweireld targeted, with both fellow Belgians also fitting the bill as being ball playing defenders who were trained up by the Dutch giants.

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