Zee Media Bureau/Rajdeep Saha
New Delhi: Manchester United`s loss is Barcelona`s gain. Arsenal warded off United`s offer by asking a player in return for the 28-year-old Thomas Vermaelen. Arsene Wenger will feel satisfied as the 28-year old will go to Spain rather than play for their rivals in the English Premier League.
The centre-back must now agree personal terms with the Catalan giants and pass a medical. For Louis van Gaal, the search for adequate acquisitions in defence continues with just three weeks remaining for the summer transfer window to close.
Vermaelen was a prime target for Manchester United given his ability to play as a left back too, but they ended their interest after refusing Arsenal`s demand to receive a player believed to be Chris Smalling, as part of the deal.
Vermaelen who ended his five-year stint with Arsenal citing lack of playing time will be the second defender to join the Catalan giants after signing Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia.
With the likes of the old guards Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra looking for newer challenges elsewhere, United are thin in defence and new enforcements are the need of the hour. It will be an interesting next few days for Louis van Gaal as he also looks to bolster his midfield.
Former Arsenal defensive midfielder, Alex Song, who looks surplus to requirements at Barca has been linked with a move to Old Trafford. Borussia Dortmund`s Mats Hummels is also in United`s interest but the German international looks unlikely to leave Ruhr Valley.
Meanwhile, Arsenal will play against English champions Manchester City at Wembley on Sunday for the FA Community Shield.