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Arsenal 'preparing concrete offer for Royal Antwerp's Arthur Vermeeren'

Arsenal 'preparing concrete offer for Arthur Vermeeren'
© Reuters
Arsenal are reportedly readying a €15m (£12.9m) bid for 18-year-old Royal Antwerp midfielder Arthur Vermeeren, who is also wanted by Barcelona.

Arsenal are reportedly preparing to come forward with a concrete bid for Royal Antwerp and Belgium midfielder Arthur Vermeeren.

The Gunners are expected to prioritise reinforcements in the centre of the park for the January window, despite bringing Declan Rice and Kai Havertz to the club over the summer.

Thomas Partey's time in North London could soon be up, as the Ghana international's fitness woes have plagued him once again this season, and he is only under contract until 2025.

Even if Partey remains at the Emirates for the remainder of the campaign, he is due to represent Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations over the winter, while Emile Smith Rowe and Fabio Vieira are both recovering from injuries.

Meanwhile, Partey's fellow veterans Jorginho and Mohamed Elneny are also out of contract at the end of the season, and given their fringe status in North London, neither man may be offered an extension.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta reacts on December 2, 2023© Reuters

Aston Villa's Douglas Luiz is thought to be Arsenal's top winter target, having failed with a couple of bids to sign him in the summer of 2022, but the Lions are expected to resist bids for the Brazilian lynchpin over the winter.

Instead, a report from Tutto Mercato Web - via Fichajes - claims that Arsenal are instead stepping up their interest in Vermeeren, who is catching the eye of several top teams across the continent this season.

Born in 2005, Vermeeren was officially promoted to the Antwerp first team last year and has already made 59 appearances for the first team, scoring two goals and providing seven assists in the process.

The 18-year-old has already won one Jupiler Pro League title, as well as a Belgian Cup and Belgian Super Cup, and he has one goal and five assists to show from 25 games in the current campaign.

Vermeeren has started all 16 of Antwerp's top-flight games in the centre of the field, as well as each of their five Champions League defeats, wearing the captain's armband in a 2-0 loss to Porto last month.

Barcelona's Gavi in action with Royal Antwerp's Arthur Vermeeren on September 19, 2023© Reuters

Thanks to his exploits at club level, Vermeeren earned his first senior cap for Belgium in October, and the midfielder is contracted to Antwerp until 2026, having penned an extension back in February.

Arsenal are apparently ready to come forward with a bid of €15m (£12.9m) for Vermeeren, although it is likely to be rejected by Antwerp, who value the Belgian closer to €25m (£21.4m).

Furthermore, the Gunners are facing stiff competition from Barcelona, who view Vermeerren as an ideal replacement for Gavi in the wake of the Spaniard's season-ending ACL injury.

However, Antwerp could choose to resist January bids for Vermeeren in the hope that he excels for Belgium at Euro 2024, which would put them in a position to raise their asking price in the summer.

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Royal Antwerp's Arthur Vermeeren pictured on September 19, 2023
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