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Man United make shock journey to Arsenal for centre-back raid

| 15.06.2014

For all the links with Thomas Muller, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos, Manchester United are also in need of a centre-back having decided to break up their title-winning duo this summer.

Both Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have departed Old Trafford this summer leaving new Red Devils boss, Louis van Gaal, with three options to choose from in the heart of his inherited defence.

Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are the candidates the Dutchman has to choose from next season, but it’s clear another centre-back is on the club’s radar.

There are youngsters in the Old Trafford ranks that could make the step up to the first team as the fourth choice, but with all three remaining defenders hardly of Ferdinand and Vidic’s senior status, Van Gaal seems to be of the opinion that a more experienced signing is needed.

Perhaps surprisingly though, it’s another Premier League pro that Van Gaal wants, with rarely-seen Arsenal man Thomas Vermaelen the latest name to crop up in a Manchester United rumour.

The Belgian, who is in Brazil with his national side for the World Cup, made just 14 league appearances for the Gunners as Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker solidified themselves as Arsene Wenger’s first-choice defensive pairing.

An opportunity to feature more prominently in a Premier League first team is sure to attract Vermaelen, whose Belgian side are 4/9 to beat Algeria in their World Cup opener, while United’s lack of European football shouldn’t bother a man in such desperate need of regular football.

Evans’ injury problems coupled with Smalling and Jones’ lack of experience at the heart of United’s defence give whoever is signed this summer a real chance of solidifying themselves as the back-line’s leader and, having been made club captain in north London in the past, that will surely suit Vermaelen.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.