Premier League giants Manchester United are reportedly the club showing the ‘most’ interest in Royal Antwerp wonderkid Arthur Vermeeren with Erik ten Hag a huge fan of the Barcelona target.
With concerns arising in some quarters about Erik Ten Hag’s so-called ‘talent ID’ – the big-money acquisitions of Antony and Mason Mount, in particular, coming into question – reports suggesting that the former Ajax boss is leading Manchester United’s pursuit of another transfer target may only add to the feeling that the Red Devils need a genuine, hands-on recruitment chief to identify potential signings and let the Dutchman focus his full attention on the training pitch.
According to Sport, Ten Hag is likely the main driver behind United’s interest in Arthur Vermeeren. The £20 million-rated teenager has admirers at West Ham United, Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund, but it is it the Red Devils who are reportedly showing the greatest desire to add him to their ranks.
Some however – Ten Hag among them – may say with good reason.
A key part of the Royal Antwerp side who won the Belgian top flight for the first time since 1957 last season, Vermeeren only turned 18 in February. But he is already ranked among the most promising teenagers on the continent.
And, again, with good reason.
Manchester United lead Arthur Vermeeren race
“The interest (in him) is immense. Fortunately, he has a good head on his shoulders. He has down-to-earth parents and a good entourage,” Royal Antwerp CEO Sven Jaecques told Het Laatste Nieuws recently.
“Arthur thinks very carefully about what is best for his career. What makes Arthur so special is his ability to learn. The boy is a ‘sponge’
“If he can back-up his phenomenal first season, it will be impossible to keep him. And it is also necessary for him to take the next step.”
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It is testament, meanwhile, to the extent and the variety of Vermeeren’s talents that he has been likened in different moments to each of Barcelona’s iconic midfield trio. Vermeeren is not merely the second coming of Xavi, Andres Iniesta or Sergio Busquets, HLN argue, but a combination of all three.
“The new Iniesta, the new Xavi, the new Busquets…,” they write.
Thriving in a deep-lying role at Royal Antwerp, Vermeeren could be part of Manchester United’s Casemiro succession plan, over a decade the Brazilian’s junior and arguably better suited – with his supreme composure on the ball – to Ten Hag’s preferred, possession-based gameplan.
A future of Kobbie Mainoo, Sofyan Amrabat and Arthur Vermeeren? It’s certainly got a ring to it.