Manchester United

Manchester United Transfer News: Thomas Vermaelen Reacts to Arsenal Exit Rumours

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 17:  Captain Thomas Vermaelen of Arsenal (R) kisses the trophy in celebration as FA chairman Greg Dyke looks on after the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Arsenal and Hull City at Wembley Stadium on May 17, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images
Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistJune 20, 2014

Arsenal skipper Thomas Vermaelen has moved to play down links of him joining Premier League rivals Manchester United.

The Belgium defender is currently at the World Cup with his country and has labelled the rumours about his immediate future as "not true."

Reported by Sky Sports, the player said:

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. Everybody understands my situation at Arsenal and that I have one year left. I understand that people are going to talk but I am here in Brazil and I am enjoying my time and I'm focused on what I am doing.

[...]

We talk a lot when I am at Arsenal but it's not what I am going to discuss here, it is something you are going to have to ask him [Arsene Wenger].

Yves Logghe/Associated Press

Martin Samuel of the Mail Online had reported that the centre-back was due to join the Red Devils in a £12 million deal.

The 28-year-old has failed to hold down a regular place in Arsene Wenger's team for some time, only making eight appearances in the Premier League and Champions League combined last year, per WhoScored.com.

Samuel said he felt that Vermaelen would have been an "expensive gamble" for Louis van Gaal and United:

"From a position as captain, he lost his starting place as a centre half, and could barely make the team as reserve left back. If Vermaelen can recover the form of his earliest years at Arsenal he will be a snip. If not, this is more good money after bad at Old Trafford."

Yves Logghe/Associated Press

However, many were in favour of United's move for the player. Football journalist Tom McDermott backed the defender's transfer to United, citing the influence of Van Gaal would help the player:

Considering Vermaelen's recent playing record, he would be a strange signing for United at this time. The club have just lost two defensive powerhouses in Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, and to bump up their defensive stock with a player who cannot get a game at the Emirates would be bizarre.

There is little doubt that Vermaelen made a great impression in his early days at Arsenal, but injury has robbed him of his best form.

United would be a strong option for the player if a deal was on the table, but it appears that information was incorrect.

 

United must improve their back line, but Vermaelen is not the player to do this. And at £12 million, he would have been an expensive substitute to bring in when the club already has three capable players in Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling.

If United can capture a world-class centre-back, they will be back in the mix for a Champions League finish next season. Vermaelen does not tick this box. 

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