Thomas Vermaelen transfer: Arsenal captain 'verbally agrees' shock move to join Louis van Gaal at Manchester United

Belgian defender, 28, is no longer first-choice at the Emirates

Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen has verbally agreed a shock move to Premier League rivals Manchester United.

The Belgian centre back is prepared to leave the Emirates and make the move north, with the clubs now primed to thrash out a deal, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Vermaelen, 28, has just one year left on his Arsenal deal but has found himself out of the first team with Arsene Wenger instead preferring the partnership of Laurent Koscienly and Per Mertesacker.

It is believed Manchester United will have to pay a maximum of about £10m because his contract is running out.

New Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, who masterminded the Netherlands' 5-1 victory over Spain at the World Cup, is desperate for defensive reinforcements after the departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.

Vermaelen was signed five years ago from Dutch giants Ajax, scoring eight goals in a brilliant first season before a series of injuries affected his performances. Arsenal's French coach Arsene Wenger waves as he arrive for a state dinner at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris Arsene Wenger also lost Bacary Sagna to Manchester City last week

He earns around £70,000-per-week but is understood to have agreed a deal that will increase his wage to about £100,000-per-week. Vermaelen shares an agent with Robin van Persie and that is believed to be key in this deal.

After the departure of Bacary Sagna to Manchester last week, Arsenal are beginning to look light at the back. Wenger has been linked with a number of defenders, with Toulouse right back Serge Aurier and Cardiff's Steven Caulker top of the list.

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