Manchester United Transfer News: Latest on Thomas Vermaelen and More Summer Talk

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 12:  Marc-Antoine Fortune of Wigan Athletic is tackled by Thomas Vermaelen of Arsenal during the FA Cup Semi-Final match between Wigan Athletic and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on April 12, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Louis van Gaal might take some extra time before officially taking the reigns of Manchester United after an impressive start to the World Cup by the Netherlands. Once he does take over, he faces the difficult task of quickly turning the Red Devils back into title contenders.

Mediocre results aren't acceptable at Old Trafford, as David Moyes found out. No matter how his run with the Dutch national team ends, the pressure will be on Van Gaal to deliver a couple of marquee signings followed by improved results early in the new campaign.

Up first, the transfer activity. It's setting up to become a busy summer for United, which doesn't come as much of a surprise. So let's check out some of the latest talk making its way around Europe concerning the high-profile club.


Thomas Vermaelen

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10:  Shinji Kagawa of Manchester United competes with Thomas Vermaelen  of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on November 10, 2013 in Manchester, England.
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Vermaelen struggled to find consistent playing time in the middle of a crowded Arsenal back line last season. His form proceeded to drop markedly as an occasional starter. Finding a club where he would be a bigger piece of the puzzle is the best thing that could happen for him.

It sounds like he may have found it. Matt Law of The Telegraph reports that an agreement has already been reached in principle between the defender and Manchester United. He notes there's still work to do before the switch is complete, though:

Thomas Vermaelen, the Arsenal captain, has agreed a deal in principle to join Manchester United this summer. United must now try to negotiate a fee with Arsenal after the World Cup finals, but Vermaelen hopes to move to Old Trafford and is preparing to leave the Emirates Stadium.

United would be taking a chance that Vermaelen is able to rediscover his prior form. It's a chance worth taking considering the side's defensive struggles against top foes last season. At his best, the Belgian international is the rock in the middle that the Red Devils need to solidify the back line.


Luke Shaw

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 28:  Luke Shaw of Southampton in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Crystal Palace at St Mary's Stadium on September 28, 2013 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Image
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Shaw is one of the most promising young players in the Premier League. His second Premier League season with Southampton was far steadier than his first. If he continues on his current path, he has the potential to become a world-class left-back.

There was a time immediately after the campaign ended when it seemed like a move to United was almost a foregone conclusion. That's no longer the case. Jonathan Northcroft of the Sunday Times reports that a bid was rejected and no deal is imminent:

It is understood no agreement has been reached on a fee for Shaw and nor are United even near to persuading Southampton to sell their coveted teenager. Any transfer involving Shaw will have to wait until after the England squad return from Brazil—and United are not the only club coveting Shaw.

Clubs around the Premier League know Shaw's value is likely only going to rise. The 18-year-old defender is a special talent, so landing him now would be a nice coup for the Red Devils. It sounds like they will really need to step up their efforts after the World Cup to make it happen, however.


Arturo Vidal

FLORENCE, ITALY - MARCH 20: Arturo Vidal of Juventus Fc celebrates the victory after during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 second leg match between ACF Fiorentina and Juventus at Stadio Artemio Franchi on March 20, 2014 in Florence, Italy.  (Photo by
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Vidal has been a force in the middle for Juventus and Bayer Leverkusen before that. His all-around ability is something few midfielders in the world can match, and he is still near the peak of his powers. He would be a welcome addition to a United midfield that has depth but lacks in-form star power.

Chisanga Malata of the Daily Star reports that the Chile international is firmly on Van Gaal's radar for potential acquisitions following the World Cup. The manager even admitted he's been a longtime admirer of the midfielder: "Chile have very dangerous players. ... I always wanted to buy Vidal when he was at Bayer Leverkusen but he went to Juventus."

Players of Vidal's caliber are exactly what United need in order to force their way back into the title picture sooner rather than later. He also represents the type of talent Moyes wasn't able to land during his first summer in charge. Fans will soon find out if Van Gaal can have more success.