Thomas Vermaelen: Arsenal accept £15m offer from Barcelona as Manchester United end interest after refusing Chris Smalling swap

Barcelona are now leading the race to sign the defender

Barcelona are edging closer to the signing of Thomas Vermaelen from Arsenal after the clubs agreed a £15m deal.

Manchester United had been linked with the Belgian defender all summer, but ended their interest in the player after the Gunners requested a swap deal involving England international Chris Smalling.

According to the BBC, the 28-year-old must now agree personal terms and pass a medical.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed yesterday that a "group" of teams had showed an interest in the Gunners' captain.

Asked whether United had made an offer, Wenger said: "I think they could be in a group".

On Vermaelen leaving, Wenger added: "Look, it could happen. I've said since the start of pre-season that Thomas could leave us because he needs to play now.

Read more: Wenger hopes for level playing field with City
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"He had an outstanding attitude and behaviour but he's in a position where it's difficult to stand in his way if he finds an interesting opportunity."

 

Vermaelen has been surplus to requirements at the Emirates Stadium because of the pairing of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.

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