Why Manchester United's Vermaelen move could go down to the wire

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger could significantly delay Manchester United target Thomas Vermaelen's departure.

Arsene Wenger reportedly wants an experienced Premier League replacement before he’ll allow Thomas Vermaelen to complete a move to Manchester United.

United have started to circle the Belgian centre-back who Louis van Gaal appears to have urged the club to sign but Wenger’s criteria to find a replacement means the deal is unlikely to get sorted any time soon.

“Wenger's preference is for a defender who has Premier League experience and can fit in with his team's playing style but he has not yet settled on a specific target,” writes Wayne Veysey for Goal.com.

The problem with Wenger’s request is that Arsenal’s main rivals are unlikely to be so generous sending players to the Emirates Stadium.

Jose Mourinho showed last summer that he considers Arsenal a real threat, blocking Demba Ba’s move to the Gunners, a player he went on to criticise throughout the season for inconsistent performances.

That creates two main problems for the Frenchman; he’s either left with an unhappy player on his books or he’s forced to go outside of the club’s main rivals, potentially buying a more inexperienced defender for a higher fee.

If United want to do a deal quickly, similarly to the transfers of Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw, they can line the transfer with a player going in Arsenal’s direction.

Chris Smalling has been mentioned although Jonny Evans and Phil Jones are alternatives, but the latter is one of England’s best defensive prospects and a versatile player LvG is unlikely to want to see leave.

As things stand, United are way off of Arsenal’s price for the Belgian so Wenger isn’t pressured or pushed in terms of time to find a replacement for his captain who will be a big loss to the side if he moves.

It’s unlikely that Wenger’s criteria for finding Vermaelen’s replacement will block his departure but it will certainly delay it.

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