Italian giants eye Gunners skipper as backup plan.
Serie A giants AC Milan will make a move for out-of-favour Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen in January if they fail to land Nemanja Vidic from Manchester United, CaughtOffside understands.
Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri is keen to bring in a new centre-back when the transfer window re-opens, and has made United stopper Vidic his main priority over the next few months.
The Serbian defender has not been at his best for United in recent times after a series of lengthy spells out through injury, and it is possible that Red Devils manager David Moyes will consider selling the long-serving member of his back four if a reasonable offer comes in for him.
However, talks remain ongoing between United and Vidic over a new contract, as the 31-year-old remains an influential member of the dressing room even as he seems to be past his peak, so Milan are ready to move for Vermaelen if they cannot bring in their number one target.
Vermaelen may be a more realistic transfer target, as the Belgian has found himself behind in the pecking order at the Emirates Stadium since some surprisingly poor form mid-way through last season.
The 27-year-old is still officially the club’s captain, though Arsene Wenger seems to prefer the partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny at the moment, with Mikel Arteta serving as skipper during Vermaelen’s absence.
Once a key player for the Gunners, Vermaelen could still reignite his career if the right move came along, and Milan feel he may benefit from the slower pace of the game in Italy.
And given the former Ajax man’s predicament at Arsenal, he may be available on the cheap this January, which appeals to the San Siro side as they look to rebuild their squad without much in the way of funds.
Vermaelen had also been linked with the likes of Napoli and Barcelona during the summer, though neither club seemed willing to take a gamble on him, and Arsenal’s failure to find a replacement may also have seen them keep hold of him for the time being.
However, with more money at his disposal now, Wenger may look to invest in a new centre-back in the next transfer window, which would certainly help ease Vermaelen out of the door, and push through a potential move to Allegri’s side.