Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen is reportedly "begging" team officials to allow him to move to Manchester United during the summer, and any cut-price deal for the Gunners' defender would be a shrewd piece of business for the Mancunians.
According to Metro, reports from Holland say Vermaelen is very keen on the move, going as far as to beg his current club to allow such a switch to happen.
When asked about a potential transfer, the Belgian international told reporters he will decide after the World Cup, per HLN's Kristof Terreur:
Thomas Vermaelen: "My focus is on the World Cup. My future will be decided after the WC."— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) June 19, 2014
Vermaelen didn't start Belgium's World Cup opener against Algeria, manager Marc Wilmots instead opting for Bayern Munich's Daniel van Buyten to flank skipper Vincent Kompany.
Van Buyten has been in excellent form for the national team, partly explaining the surprising decision. Vermaelen's ability to fill in at left-back probably also played a part, and against Russia's quicker attacking unit, there's a good chance the Verminator gets the start.
His Arsenal career has cooled down significantly following an exceptional first season, and Arsene Wenger has found his preferred defensive pairing in Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
As a result, the Belgian has been forced to spend much of his time in London on the bench, explaining his desire for a move.
With United, it's doubtful Vermaelen would immediately become the designated starter at the centre-back position. While defence isn't one of the Red Devils' strong suits, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling would still figure to have the upper hand over Vermaelen.
But as a versatile piece of the puzzle and a solid option off the bench, the Belgian could shine for the Mancunians. Having a strong defensive pairing is one thing—having depth to deal with injuries and suspensions is arguably just as important.
Vermaelen's struggles at Arsenal started the moment the Gunners tried to use him in a different role, namely as the leader of the back line. The added responsibility of lining up his teammates proved too much for him, and mistakes soon followed.
In a limited role, however, Vermaelen is an excellent player. When playing for the Belgian Red Devils, he doesn't have to worry about organising his teammates—the mercurial Kompany will do that for him.
Instead, Vermaelen gets to do what he does best—use his incredible athleticism and aerial abilities to clean up the area in front of the box and make sure that any attacker who has the ball on his foot too long regrets it.
United could use a player like that, and given Vermaelen's contract will run out in the summer of 2015, there's no reason he wouldn't be available for the right price.
The Belgian would add some much-needed attitude and athleticism to a defensive group that sorely lacked it in 2013-14.
Sure, Arsenal would prefer not to sell to a Premier League rival, but if the player pushes for a move hard enough, it'll eventually happen.
Following his difficult 2013-14 season with the Gunners, the time seems right for Vermaelen to move on.
The Red Devils could present the Arsenal skipper with the perfect opportunity for him to return to what he does best—defend the goal and not worry too much about anything else.