Manchester United are reportedly among the teams to have shown an interest in Belgian youngster Arthur Vermeeren. Compared to Barcelona legends Xavi and Andres Iniesta by Royal Antwerp sporting director Marc Overmars, Vermeeren could be bound for Old Trafford if Erik ten Hag uses his past association with the former Ajax transfer chief.
Overmars spent a decade as sporting director of the Amsterdam giants before leaving in 2022. Five of those years were spent working alongside Ten Hag, with the pair building a young and exciting side capable of challenging big guns in the Champions League.
Now overseeing transfer operations at Royal Antwerp, Overmars has been highly complimentary of Vermeeren, a teenage midfielder rumoured to have admirers in Barcelona and at Old Trafford.
“I have no doubt that he has a fantastic level,” Overmars told radio station Cadena SER. “The first time I saw him he reminded me of Xavi and Iniesta, a player with the same profile.”
United can ill afford to miss out on the opportunity to sign a player with the potential to match Xavi or Iniesta’s achievements. The midfield duo won everything there was to win with Barcelona and Spain, and the Red Devils are in need of something or someone to spark their season into life.
Vermeeren joined Royal Antwerp’s academy in 2018 and broke into the first team last year. Already capped for Belgium U21, all eyes will be on the 18-year-old when his club side face Barca in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Overmars, who could ultimately play a significant part in deciding Vermeeren’s club future, has ties to La Blaugrana, having played for them between 2000 and 2004. But Ten Hag will hope that their partnership at Ajax can make the difference if United make a move for the Belgian wonderkid in January.
The Red Devils have made a troubled start to 2023/24, losing three of their first five matches for the first time in the Premier League era. Things aren’t about to get any easier, either, as Ten Hag gears his side up for a Champions League clash with Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
Ahead of the high-calibre European contest, Bayern striker Harry Kane spoke out on rumours linking him with a move to Old Trafford during the summer. “I know there were talks between a few clubs in the background, but Bayern was a team I was really interested and excited by,” said the England captain.
“There weren’t many other discussions when they came in and the deal got done. My focus is on here, Manchester United are a great club and a big club too, but I decided to come here and I’m glad I did.”