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Manchester United have reportedly contacted Royal Antwerp starlet Arthur Vermeeren’s representatives over a potential summer transfer, as Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag has already made his feelings clear on the signing. United are keen admirers of the teenage midfielder, but face competition from Barcelona as the Spanish giants look to replace Sergio Busquets.
Spanish outlet Sport have claimed that United are strong contenders for Vermeeren’s signature alongside Barcelona, but the English side may be ahead of Xavi’s outfit as they are the only team credited with making contact. While the La Liga side are looking to replace the outgoing Busuquets, United will hope to land long-term successors for Casemiro and Christian Eriksen – both into their thirties – as Vermeeren could be seen as a low-risk budget option.
The report states that he could be available for as low as £7million after a breakthrough season in Belgium under former Netherlands midfielder Mark van Bommel. It also claims that Ten Hag ‘loves’ his playing style. After the ex-Bayern Munich man took over last year, he could not believe that Vermeeren was still playing for the club’s youth team and has since tipped him to play for the Belgium national team.
Van Bommel told Nieuwsblad: “The whole club is very happy with Arthur. I already knew at the first training that he would make minutes. He is doing well, playing top matches every week. His development is going well.
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“[A senior call-up] is a question for the new national coach. You know, I think he is capable of playing (at that level), he wouldn’t look out of place in the least. Things can go fast for him, but we shouldn’t put any pressure on him. I’m not saying he should be there. But it is possible.
“Arthur has so far adapted smoothly to every step up. He has a down-to-earth family, doesn’t do crazy things himself. That is already special.”
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The Daily Mail have previously claimed that United have scouted Vermeeren closely and have posted their interest in the 18-year-old, who has also been watched by Newcastle. Whether he would remain at Old Trafford next season under Ten Hag if signed or sent out on loan remains to be seen, but the Red Devils’ midfield could be significantly strengthened.
The club’s transfer priority is clearly to land a marquee striker such as Harry Kane or Victor Osimhen, while significant funds could also be spent in defence as Napoli centre-back Kim Min-jae is reportedly close to sealing a £56m move to Old Trafford.
The club’s summer budget is uncertain due to the ownership situation, coupled with their other transfer priorities there may not be sufficient funds for a high-profile midfielder and Vermeeren could be seen as a cheaper option with considerable upside.
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