Roma eye Arsenal misfit as replacement for Chelsea target.Roma could be the latest club to join the running for out-of-favour Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen as they look for a replacement for Chelsea and Manchester City target Mehdi Benatia.
CaughtOffside understands that Arsenal have been reluctant to offload Vermaelen to a Premier League rival, and have postponed talks with Manchester United to await interest from other clubs around Europe, with the likes of Juventus, Inter Milan and Napoli also mentioned as previous suitors from Serie A.
However, Roma now look to be showing the strongest interest to sign the Belgian centre-back as Rudi Garcia faces the prospect of losing one of his most important players this summer, as the chase hots up for Moroccan stopper Benatia.
The 27-year-old was one of the best defenders in Europe last season after moving to the Stadio Olimpico from fellow Italian side Udinese, where he had also impressed, and a big move to the Premier League could be on the cards this summer.
With Manchester City looking like closing in on the signing of Eliaquim Mangala from Porto, it may be that their interest in Benatia has cooled, but Chelsea remain big fans of his and may look to sign him as they eye replacements for the departing David Luiz.
This would leave Roma short of options at the back as they look to try again to challenge for the title next season, as well as playing in the Champions League after finishing second to Juventus in 2013/14.
Vermaelen could be a good and cheap option at a price of just £11m, with the 28-year-old no longer first choice for Arsene Wenger after a poor run of form last year saw him dropped to the bench in favour of the now-successful Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny partnership.
His lack of first-team action at the Emirates Stadium had seen him become a top target for United as well, but the Red Devils now look set to miss out on the former Ajax man if a move to Roma can be agreed, leaving new manager Louis van Gaal to look elsewhere for players to come in and replace Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, who left at the end of the season.
Atletico Madrid defender Miranda is also thought to be one of United’s top targets, but will likely prove more expensive than Vermaelen.