Jerome Boateng
Jerome Boateng has been linked with a move to Barcelona, according to reports in SpainGetty

Barcelona could help Manchester United in their pursuit of Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen if they can tempt Jerome Boateng to the Nou Camp.

The Catalan club have been linked with a move for Vermaelen but reports from Spain claim manager Luis Enrique is also considering a bid for Bayern Munich defender Boateng.

The 25-year-old is said to be keen on a move to Spain with Spanish sports daily Marca reporting the player's agent had met with Barca official Andoni Zubizarreta over a prospective move.

Barca are said to be preparing a €39m (£31m) offer for the German World Cup winner, whose ability to play at centre half and full back makes him an attractive option.

Bayern boss Pep Guardiola does not want to lose Boateng and is likely to turn down his former club's advances even if they use Ibrahim Afellay or Alex Song as makeweights.

If Enrique can tempt Boateng to swap Bavaria for Barca, it will leave the door open for United to snap up long-term target Vermaelen.

The 28-year-old Belgian has just one year left on his contract at the Emirates and has been constantly linked with a move to United with Barca and Real Madrid also monitoring his position.

Reports before the World Cup said an agreement was in place for the versatile defender to head to Manchester but the £7m deal has since stalled.

Arsene Wenger admitted last week he could lose his captain but is said to staunchly oppose selling to United after losing previous club captain Robin van Persie to the Old Trafford club.

"It is a possibility that he [Vermaelen] goes," Wenger said on Friday at a press conference.

As well as Vermaelen, United manager Louis van Gaal has also been weighing up a bid for Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels, whose manager Jurgen Klopp recently laughed off suggestions the defender would be leaving the Westfalenstadion.