It was reported months ago and picked again more recently that Manchester United are looking to get a deal in place for Arsenal centre-back Thomas Vermaelen.
According to reports in the press today, a deal has been “agreed in principle,” which is the modern equivalent of saying we’ve tapped him up politely. Unlike with Chelsea’s tapping up (and subsequent fine for said tapping) of Ashley Cole, if Arsene Wenger wants rid of club captain Vermaelen he’ll probably be rather happy that some of the work is done already. He hasn’t been first choice at Arsenal for a long time and it makes sense for them to sell him.
What doesn’t make sense, to me at least, is why Manchester United are going for him during this summer transfer window. Don’t get me wrong, Vermaelen’s is a decent player, at best. He had a period after joining Arsenal when he was exceptional but due to injuries and the drop in form attached to that he’s been replaced at centre-back by Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker. That pairing has worked so well for Arsenal that it’s completely understandable that he wants to leave and find first team football. But at Manchester United? Really?
This summer began with Ed Woodward speaking about Manchester United’s war chest and that we’d have around £150M to spend in the transfer window. With Nemanja Vidic moving to Inter Milan, Rio Ferdinand moving onto a career in the media, while selling the odd hat and Evans, Smalling and Jones spending most of their time on the treatment table, a new centre-back (or two) was ear-marked as a position to strengthen. We’ve been linked with the likes of Mats Hummels and Stefan de Vrij since then and frankly, the Vermaelen story has left many fans feeling pretty deflated.
That is not to say he’s not a good defender. He had some really good times at Arsenal but for every moment of calmness at the back he at least matches it with a moment where his motor skills appear to desert him entirely. He may thrive under Louis van Gaal but that’s merely speculation at this stage. Looking at the situation as it is now; there are very few actual reasons that justify Manchester United going for him over other targets. Sure, he has experience but experience counts for little when you have the propensity to leave your team extremely vulnerable on a regular basis.
Quite simply, Manchester United need top quality at centre-back. The type of quality we won’t find on Arsenal’s bench.
Do you think Thomas Vermaelen is good enough for Manchester United? Let us know your thoughts in the United Ramble comment section below.