‘Ten Hag fights Barcelona’ for ‘golden boy’ and Man Utd are ‘most interested’ in €75m goalkeeper

Lewis Oldham
Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag fist pumps the air

According to reports, Man Utd have joined FC Barcelona in targeting Belgium U19 international Arthur Vermeeren from Royal Antwerp.

The 18-year-old has already made a big impact for Royal Antwerp at senior level. He has played 32 times for this season’s Belgium Cup winners and he has been capped three times for his country at U19 level this year.

The centre-midfielder has already caught the attention of several clubs around Europe and – according to Spanish outlet Nacional – Erik ten Hag has told Man Utd to ‘fight Barcelona for the signing of the gem’.

Barcelona consider Vermeeren as a potential ‘low cost’ alternative to Ruben Neves and Joshua Kimmich and he is ‘well-positioned’ to secure himself a move to the Spanish giants.

Vermeeren is available at a ‘very reasonable’ price as the fee for him ‘would not exceed 10 million euros’.

The La Liga outfit have ‘encountered a problem’ in their pursuit of Vermeeren as Man Utd ‘have been amazed’ by his recent progression.

United ‘could overtake’ Barcelona in the battle for Vermeeren as the Spanish side are yet to make a ‘formal bid’ for the teenager.

Barcelona are seemingly major admirers of the inexperienced midfielder, though. The report adds that the club’s ‘observers’ think ‘Vemeeren may be a better option to succeed Sergio Busquets than Martin Zubimendi’.

The Red Devils are expected to strengthen in several positions this summer. A new striker is understood to be a priority for Ten Hag with Harry Kane among his preferred targets.

A new goalkeeper also appears to be on their radar as they are looking to recruit a long-term replacement for David De Gea.

It was claimed earlier this week that they are close to signing David Raya from Brentford, but Porto’s Diogo Costa is also on their radar.

Record (via Sport Witness) are reporting that Man Utd are ‘most repeatedly interested’ in Costa.

The goalkeeper is ‘protected’ by a €75m release clause and the report points out that Bayern Munich and Tottenham Hotspur are also interested in him.

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De Gea is out of contract in the summer. Even though Man Utd are being linked with several potential replacements, Ten Hag has confirmed that they “want him to stay”.

“I think we want him to stay and he wants to stay, so I think we will find each other.”

When asked why there has been a hold-up, Ten Hag added: “I never give a comment about how negotiations are going.”

“We can still improve with this squad, as we did this season. That’s the job I have to do with my coaching staff. We made huge progress, many individuals made progress. Now we have a good base.”

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