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United expect to tie up swoop for £10m Vermaelen

By Robert Jones

Manchester United are confident they will succeed with a £10m bid to sign Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen after the World Cup.

While reports that Vermaelen has already agreed personal terms with Manchester United have been denied by his agent, it is understood that the defender does want to move to Old Trafford.

Manchester United are looking to strengthen their defence following the departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Matic this summer.

New manager Louis van Gaal is currently busy with being in charge of Holland at the World Cup, but has handed a wish-list to the Manchester United hierarchy and Vermaelen’s name is on it.

He knows the 28-year-old well having seen him progress as a youngster while working as technical director at Ajax.

Van Gaal wants a player with experience of the Premier League and is also comfortable bringing the ball out of defence.

Vermaelen fits those credentials and crucially is prepared to leave Arsenal, where he has spent the past five years following a £10m switch from Ajax.

A combination of injuries, loss of form and being out of favour has led him to become a fringe member of Arsene Wenger’s squad in recent seasons.

This term he made just 10 starts in all competitions and will be happy to depart in order to get regular first team football.

Vermaelen has just one year left on his contract and while Wenger will be hesitant to let him go, a bid of £10m would be hard to resist.

He currently earns in the region of £70,000-a-week, but United will be prepared to offer £100,000-a-week to help prise him away.

Significantly he is still close friends with Manchester United and former Arsenal striker Robin van Persie and will want to reunite with him at Old Trafford.

It is likely the switch will anger Arsenal fans, however, having seen van Persie leave them for Manchester United in 2012 and help them win the title last year.

They have also seen Bacary Sagna turn down a new contract to join Manchester City, while Arsenal also turned down an option to re-sign Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona and join Chelsea for £27m instead.

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