According to press reports in Belgium, Thomas Vermaelen has agreed a deal to join Manchester United this summer.
Via SportWitness, it seems newspaper Het Laatse Nieuws ran the story (later picked up by the UK papers and run as an ‘EXCLUSIVE’) which claims that the Arsenal captain’s relationship with Louis van Gaal, who he knows from his time at Ajax, is a factor.
Of course, he can agree anything he wants, that behind the scenes, back-channel stuff goes on all the time (even in the deals we do), but the decision to leave is not his. There’s just the piffling matter of Arsenal deciding to sell him, and United agreeing a fee with us for his transfer. You know, pesky details like that.
Also, with the departure of the versatile Bacary Sagna, Arsene Wenger’s centre-half roster is somewhat light, and the captain has had a number of absences through injury since he joined the club in 2009. It’s abundantly clear that he’s unhappy being on the bench, having fallen behind Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in the pecking order due to indifferent form in the 2012-13 season, and stories like this tend to emerge as part of the transfer machinations.
However, Arsenal already require a right-back this summer, and definitely need to add depth to the centre-half position anyway, so it’s hard to imagine this being a transfer window in which Arsenal add three defenders.
He might not like the situation he’s currently in, but at this point the most likely outcome is that he sees out his contract with us and leaves on a free next summer.