The Express claims that Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen is keen to move to Manchester United once the World Cup in Brazil has finished.
The Belgian has emerged as a possible candidate to replace Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand at Old Trafford, who have both left the club following a disappointing campaign last season.
United have already seen a £6 million offer for the player knocked back and they may have to pay double that initial amount to get the deal done, but if the clubs can agree a fee, the national daily newspaper has suggested the player would be interested in the move.
“United are understood to have had an initial bid of £6m rejected but are ready to go back with an increased offer after third parties revealed Vermaelen is keen to move to Old Trafford once his World Cup duties with his country are over,” reports the Express.
However, contrary to the Express’ claim that third parties know Vermaelen is keen on a United switch, the player himself recently dismissed the speculation and his agent has denied that any deal between the two Premier League rivals has been agreed.
“I know there has been a lot of talk and a lot of rumours but the only thing I can say is that it's not true - I understand that people are going to talk but I am here in Brazil and I am enjoying my time,” said Vermaelen last month.
The defence is definitely one area of the Manchester United squad, which Louis van Gaal has to further improve following the acquisition of Luke Shaw in a huge deal from Southampton.
There are two problems he faces if he’s keen on pushing through a move for Vermaelen following the World Cup.
Firstly, he has to battle against Arsenal’s likely desire to prevent a sale to a rival which would ultimately make them weaker and secondly, they have to battle against any other side coming into the equation to bid for the Belgian.
United have a chance of getting a deal done but there are variables, which aren’t going to make a transfer quick, simple or easy.