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United target Vermaelen to shine in World Cup opener with Algeria

| 17.06.2014

Arsenal’s Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen is said to be on the brink of swapping the Emirates for Old Trafford and with the spotlight firmly on him will be looking to impress later today.

The Red Devils – of Belgium that is – get their tournament underway against Algeria in Belo Horizonte and with the world watching many could be tempted to back the Arsenal man to shine.

Belgium are many fans’ pick as dark horses to win the World Cup and after some impressive displays coming into the tournament they are rightly priced as 1/3 favourites to beat their African opponents.

However, while the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard often grab the headlines, Belgium’s defence has been the bedrock of their recent results, with the side keeping clean sheets against both Sweden and Tunisia in their final warm-up matches.

With Belgium’s defence in good form and Vermaelen looking to shine it could pay to take the 17/20 about another clean sheet here.

According to media reports Vermaelen and United have agreed a deal in principal that will see the 28-year-old leave north London and the player’s record suggests the Old Trafford giants will be acquiring more than just a defensive mind.

With a total of 12 goals from 144 games at Ajax and a return of 15 from 150 games for the Gunners Vermaelen is no stranger to finding the back of the net.

Another United target, Mats Hummels, showed his scoring prowess with a well-taken header against Portugal and there are some great prices available on Vermaelen repeating the trick.

He may have just one international goal to his name but his club record speaks for itself so the 10/1 on an anytime goal from the 6ft centre-back should certainly appeal.

Those looking for bigger returns could be swayed by the 33/1 available on the defender scoring first or last respectively, while those thinking set-pieces will be the order of the day can get 66/1 that Vermaelen bags at least two goals against Algeria.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.