Thomas Vermaelen
Thomas Vermaelen Reuters

Manchester United are looking to beat Barcelona for Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen with a £15m bid.

According to the Daily Mail, Louis van Gaal is keen to land the defender as soon as possible and is ready to sanction a bid to beat the offer from the Spanish giants.

Barcelona have also been heavily linked with the Gunners captain and are reported to have already lodged a £10m offer for the player.

And although Arsene Wenger is reluctant to let one of his most experienced players go, he is said to be more inclined towards selling Vermaelen to a club abroad rather than strengthen a direct rival. The Arsenal manager has also admitted that the defender is likely to depart the Emirates this summer.

The Red Devils boss has made strengthening his defence a priority, as they are yet to bring in replacements for Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand who have left for pastures new.

Vermaelen has refused to try and force a move from the club, but is known to be open to a move as he struggled to get any game time with Arsenal last season. He played just seven Premier League games for the Gunners during the previous campaign owing to injury and the emergence of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertasacker as the first-choice centre-back pairing for the club.

Apart from Vermaelen, the report claims that the Dutchman is also keen on signing compatriot Daley Blind from former club Ajax.

After the departure of Patrice Evra to Juventus, new signing Luke Shaw is the only recognised left-back in the team and the arrivals of the Belgian and the Dutchman will shore up the left side of United's defence.

Van Gaal is looking to instil a new philosophy and a new 3-5-2 formation during the upcoming season and sees Vermaelen and Blind as a key part of his plans.