Man Utd to rival Barcelona for ‘beautiful footballer’ compared to Iniesta, Xavi; Ten Hag ‘loves’ him

Man Utd, Barcelona linked Antwerp midfielder Arthur Vermeeren

Man Utd, Barcelona linked Antwerp midfielder Arthur Vermeeren

Manchester United are poised to battle Barcelona for highly-rated Royal Antwerp midfielder Arthur Vermeeren in January, according to reports.

The 18-year-old is considered to be one of the best young centre-mids in Europe and has caught the attention of some of the biggest clubs on the continent.

As previously reported by TEAMtalk, Newcastle are also interested in Vermeeren but it now seems that Man Utd are ahead of the Magpies in the race.

The Belgium under-21s international broke into the Antwerp team last season and has already nailed down a consistent spot in their starting XI.

He has made 45 appearances in all competitions so far, scoring one goal and making four assists in the process.

Spanish outlet SPORT claimed that Erik ten Hag is ‘in love’ with Vermeeren’s style of play and that Man Utd already ‘contacted’ his entourage over a potential switch to Old Trafford.

As mentioned, however, Man Utd face a battle with Barcelona if they want to sign the youngster when the transfer window re-opens.

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Man Utd target ‘beautiful footballer’ Vermeeren

According to other reports from Spain, Barcelona have also made contact with Vermeeren’s agents and are determined to sign him – and Man Utd have been ‘warned’ about their interest.

Now, former Watford player Sven Kums has said that he isn’t surprised that Man Utd and Barca are interested – and even compared the Antwerp star to Andreas Iniesta and Xavi.

“I can see [similarities to Iniesta and Xavi], yes. To perform like this at such a young age is incredible. Vermeeren is a very good but also a beautiful footballer,” Kums said.

“I don’t know what’s true about what you sometimes read about the interest of big teams, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

“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.”

Man Utd and Barcelona are unlikely to be the only teams chasing Vermeeren in January. He was valued at around £7m in the summer but that price is likely to increase, so it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.

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