Thomas Vermaelen
Thomas Vermaelen Getty Images

Liverpool are considering a shock move for Manchester United defender target Thomas Vermaelen this summer, according to the Express.

The Arsenal skipper has been a transfer target for the Red Devils' manager Louis van Gaal. The Dutchman has set his sights on the former Ajax man to strengthen his side's central defending position after the exit of star duo Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.

However, United's hope of signing Vermaelen has suffered a blow as their arch-rivals Liverpool have entered the race for the Belgium international's services. The 28-year-old has one year left on his contract and lack of playing time last season saw him consider his future at the Emirates.

The Merseyside club completed the signing of Dejan Lovren from Southampton and Brendan Rodgers is looking to bring in reinforcements to bolster the Reds' back four. The Northern Irishman is planning to beat United for Vermaelen's signature.

The Gunners star has admitted that last season was difficult for him and has hinted that he could leave his current employers in the ongoing transfer window.

"It is no secret that I had problems last season and I am considering things. Many things can happen in football and I do not want to exclude anything," the Express quoted Vermaelen as saying.

Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has also suggested that he cannot assure that Vermaelen will be at the Emirates beyond this transfer window. He is currently earning £70,000-a-week at the north London club and the centre-half is looking for a club who are ready to offer him the same or better wages.

United have long been linked to him and with Liverpool entering the frame, they could pip the Old Trafford club in landing Vermaelen with Champions League action – something that cannot be offered by the Red Devils for the next season.

Should Vermaelen make a switch to Anfield, Van Gaal will be forced to look elsewhere in the transfer market as he says United need to sign centre-backs this summer.