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Reds lead defender race

Last Updated: Thu, 07 Aug 2014 08:37

Manchester United have edged ahead of Barcelona in the battle to sign Arsenal central defender Thomas Vermaelen, according to reports.

It looked like Red Devils chief Louis van Gaal was set to miss out on the 28-year-old Belgium international earlier in the week amid reports Barca were about to launch a £10million swoop.

However, the pendulum appears to have swung back in favour of United with reports claiming Vermaelen would prefer to remain in the Premier League this season and would happily move north to Old Trafford despite their lack of Champions League football.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger claims he would be happy to keep the player, but recently admitted there was a possibility he could leave the Emirates Stadium.

Vermaelen started just seven Premier League games for the Gunners last term after slipping behind Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in the pecking order. And with Van Gaal looking for an experienced stopper to cover the loss of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, he would be likely to get regular first-team action at United.

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