Manchester United are among a number of big clubs across Europe interested in securing the services of Arthur Vermeeren, Royal Antwerp’s 18-year-old midfielder.
The Belgian protégé established himself as a starter for Antwerp last year, making twenty-six league appearances as his side won the league on the final day of the season, as well as the Belgian Cup.
Vermeeren has maintained the starting berth this year, delivering equally impressive performances in the Champions League. Antwerp lost 5-0 away to Barcelona last week, but the youngster was a bright spark in the midst of a disappointing result.
Arthur Vermeeren vs Barcelona (UCL Debut)
Every action pic.twitter.com/mDzvnTY43N
— N0S41NTS (@N0S41) September 22, 2023
Possessing a potent pairing of technique and physicality, Vermeeren is the quintessential modern midfielder; capable of affecting play both on and off the ball. His comfortability in progressing the ball from deep has drawn comparisons to Frenkie De Jong – a player Erik ten Hag was eager to bring to Manchester last summer.
Ten Hag is reported to be “in love” with the Belgian midfielder (via Sportwitness) and Old Trafford officials have been in contact with Vermeeren’s representatives. United were thought to be “leading the chase” for his services.
Recent stories contend Barcelona are now pushing to sign Vermeeren, however, with the Spanish club aleady having initiated talks with Royal Antwerp.
Sven Kumz, an experienced Belgian midfielder for Gent, has offered his insight on his younger compatriot.
“He’s a type who can easily play anywhere at a higher level. He loses little balls, sees well, plays fast, and can set the pace. He has everything a midfielder of his style needs. When I watch Antwerp in the Champions League, I keep an eye on him. I don’t watch football very often, but I would watch for him.”
“I didn’t used to watch a lot of football, but I would turn on my TV for Barcelona. For Xavi and Iniesta. Not that I see every Antwerp match now, but I have that with him too. You see that he scans a lot. He always chooses position wisely. You can train for that a bit, but I think you either have something like that or you don’t. And he has that.”
The comparisons to the play style of two former Barcelona legends offers insight into why the Spanish club are interested in Vermeeren. As well as Ten Hag; a disciple of the same approach to football.
United may have to move, therefore, quickly and decsively to maintain their place at the front of the queue for the talented Belgian.