The Thomas Vermaelen tug-of-war rages on, with Manchester United and Barcelona taking one of the Belgian’s arms apiece and pulling with all of their sizeable might.
Los Blaugrana are reported to have offered £10m for his services as they aim to restructure their backline after a season of underachievement, most notably on the continental front.
Louis van Gaal rates the former Ajax man higher, though, to the tune of £15m to be exact.
The 28-year-old is thought to favour a move to the side rated at 9/2 to win the Premier League title and a resolution to the chronicle appears to be edging closer.
A move to Catalunya would whet the appetite of plenty, but here’s why the Verminator is right in his refusal to conform.
United’s new-fangled three-man defence ensures he’ll be deployed in his favoured berth.
Centre-backs are at a premium on the red half of Manchester and LVG needs a trio of them to play every week.
With fledgling marshals like Chris Smalling and Phil Jones still students of their craft, a stopper of Vermaelen’s seniority is urgently required, which isn’t the case at his alternative destination, where he could very well be tasked with deputising when Jordi Alba is unavailable.
He is by no means guaranteed a starting spot at the Nou Camp.
With Barcelona intent on signing every left-sided central-defender on the market this summer, there’s a strong chance the Belgian could be playing the same second-string role he is currently enduring at Arsenal.
Jeremy Mathieu has already been signed and Daniel Agger is believed to be on the way.
Gerard Pique remains first-choice, while Barca prefer to pitch Javier Mascherano in at the heart of defence as opposed to the midfield role he favours.
Having acclimatised to Premier League rigours, he is primed to succeed with the Red Devils.
Adjusting to life in Spain could well hinder Vermaelen’s ability to flourish in the early days of his tenure with the Catalan club, which is, of course, essential given the immense skirmish for a starting place he’d face there.
Much like the last person to traverse the path from Arsenal to Man Utd, Robin van Persie, the foundations are in place for the Belgian to thrive for the very beginning of his Red Devils career.