Manchester United are currently suffering from something of a midfield crisis amid injuries to the likes of Christian Eriksen, Scott McTominay and Donny van de Beek, while summer signing Casemiro has also been suspended from Premier League action in recent games.
Those woes have only served to further showcase the lack of depth in that department in Erik ten Hag‘s squad, with the absence of a quality alternative to that man Casemiro at the base of the midfield having been a particular problem of late.
With the Red Devils likely to be plotting to find a suitable understudy to the Brazilian machine in the near future, the latest suggestion is that they could have found a potential solution in the form of Royal Antwerp starlet Arthur Vermeeren.
What’s the latest on Vermeeren to Man United?
The Daily Mail reported last week that the Old Trafford outfit – along with upcoming Carabao Cup opponents Newcastle United – are ‘monitoring’ the promising 18-year-old as a result of the Belgian gem’s impressive displays in his homeland of late.
The report suggests that, with the teenager having only signed a new contract extension earlier this month until 2026, he could command a fee of close to £20m ahead of the summer transfer window.
Can Vermeeren be Casemiro’s heir at Old Trafford?
Although Vermeeren is rather inexperienced at first-team level with only 17 senior appearances to his name, he does appear to be a player with a “huge future” ahead of him, according to talent scout Jacek Kulig.
The highly-rated “sensation” is said to be “one of the biggest talents in Belgium“, in the words of Kulig, having also been described as “fantastic” by current team-mate and former Tottenham Hotspur titan Toby Alderweireld.
The “incredibly solid and mature midfielder” – as hailed by Kulig – does appear to boast the traits required to be Casemiro’s successor in the years to come, as he has showcased his ball-winning prowess by averaging 2.9 tackles and 1.1 interceptions per game from his 11 Pro League outings this season.
That record would indicate that Vermeeren can also provide an effective screen in front of the back four for Ten Hag. The current United midfielder is already fulfilling that role in expert fashion, as the £70m acquisition has averaged 3.3 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per game from his 17 Premier League appearances.
The former Real Madrid rock also ranks fifth in the English top flight for tackles made (56) so far this season, with that illustrating just why the five-time Champions League winner has been lauded by his manager as the “cement” in United’s team.
Although the former Porto ace did sign a long-term contract upon his move to the Theatre of Dreams, the fact that he is set to turn 31 next week might raise doubts as to just how long he can continue to perform at the highest level.
As such, turning to Vermeeren could well offer the ability for Ten Hag to rest the serial winner when required – perhaps helping to extend his career – while the Belgium U18 international could then prove a possible heir to Casemiro later down the line.
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