Arsenal ‘leading the race’ for Man Utd, Man City, Tottenham linked star dubbed the next Iniesta

Harry Watkinson
Arsenal linked Royal Antwerp midfielder Arthur Vermeeren
Arsenal linked Royal Antwerp midfielder Arthur Vermeeren

Arsenal are reportedly ‘leading the race’ for Royal Antwerp midfielder Arthur Vermeeren, who is also a target for Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham.

The 19-year-old is considered to be one of the best young midfielders in Europe and is being tracked by a number of top clubs ahead of the January transfer window.

Vermeeren, who is already a Belgium under-21s international, broke into the Antwerp team last season and has already established himself as one of their most important players.

He has made 49 appearances in all competitions so far, including 20 outings last season to help the club lift their first Belgian Pro League title in over 60 years, as well as to win the Belgian Cup. Vermeeren has scored two goals and made seven assists in that time.

Vermeeren’s performances this season have earned him some rave reviews. Former Watford player Sven Kums 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.

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“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.”

As previously reported by Football365, Arsenal, Man City and Tottenham have been linked with Vermeeren for some time, while Man Utd’s interest dates back the longest.

It now seems, however, that the Gunners have leapfrogged the competition in the race for the youngster’s signature, as they eye a long-term replacement for the exit-linked Thomas Partey.

According to Spanish outlet SPORTthe Gunners are’ currently leading the race for Vermeeren’ and ‘may step up their pursuit in the January transfer window.’

The report claims that Mikel Arteta has personally told Arsenal chiefs to lure the in-demand Vermeeren to the Emirates.

With that in mind, it’s likely we could see Arsenal make a bid for the £15m-rated star this winter, but if they don’t move quickly, one of his many other suitors could swoop in for him.

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