FC Barcelona and Manchester United are no strangers to competing for some of the top talent in Europe, and now it seems as though they’re about to do battle again.
Earlier this month we reported that Barcelona had made contact with Royal Antwerp midfielder Arthur Vermeeren, and considering Antwerp and Barca were drawn into the same Champions League group, they’ve had plenty of opportunity to scout the young Belgian star.
Former Barcelona midfielder Mark van Bommel who now manages Antwerp basically confirmed the Barca interest when he said:
"“I am very happy that he has been playing with us all this time. It is incredible how he has improved in one year. Since he started playing he has been decisive. He is not only interesting for Barcelona but for all the teams.”"
Vermeeren didn’t stand out as Barcelona thrashed Antwerp 5-0 to start their European campaign, but with Barca dominating possession, there was little he could do.
That doesn’t take away from the fact he’s widely considered to be one of the most promising young footballers in Europe, and his domestic performances for Antwerp have attracted plenty of attention.
Report: Manchester United now tracking €17 million rated midfielder
One of those other teams is Manchester United, who have now been linked with a move for Vermeeren, who they hope to solidify their midfield.
Manchester United have often had an issue recently with scouting talent early enough, which means they’ve been forced to pay big fees for players like Onana, Hojlund, Casemiro, Sancho and Anthony.
To be a good sustainable football club, it’s important to spot talent early and get them on these €15-€30 million deals before they blow up at their next club.
Barcelona have sometimes fallen short of achieving that as well. Which is part of the reason the club are in such dire straits financially.