Man Utd discovered Belgian 18 y/o wonderkid as long-term solution for midfield issues

In their pursuit of a long-term middle-field option, Manchester United has kept an eye on Belgian sensation Arthur Vermeeren.

Vermeeren signed a long-term contract with his current club Royal Antwerp on February 7, the day he turned 18 years old. The new contract will keep him with Mark van Bommel’s team until 2026, but due to his on-field performances, clubs like United have been linked with a move for him earlier than that as they want to improve a midfield that already includes summer signing Casemiro with potential stars.

The adolescent, a Belgium under-17 international, is expected to become a standout for the senior team. He played with former Manchester United youngster Ritchie De Laet and seasoned Belgian international Toby Alderweireld when he made his senior debut at age 17 and came off the bench in a Europa Conference League qualifier.

The Mail claims that, in advance of a prospective transfer, the teenager was considered by other Premier League teams in addition to Manchester United.

Vermeeren, who is valued at about £20 million by his club, has also been mentioned in connection with Newcastle United.

The prodigy, a defensive midfielder by trade, is gaining knowledge from Antwerp manager Van Bommel, one of the greatest in his position. The former manager of Wolfsburg and PSV Eindhoven earned 79 caps for the Netherlands and competed in the 2010 World Cup final. He also played for Barcelona, where he won the Champions League in 2006.

Vermeeren has made a name for himself since the World Cup, despite the fаct that he began the season by patiently waiting for a chance. In November, when he made his first start for the team after several cameos off the bench, he was chosen fans’ player of the month. Antwerp has lost just one of the eight games since the Belgian league restarted in late December, moving them up to third in the standings.

“I am convinced that learning ability is the most important characteristic of talent,” Royal Antwerp academy chief Steven Smet said when Vermeeren signed his contract extension. “That is precisely why it seems impossible to predict where Arthur’s limits lie, because his learning and adaptability is unlimited.”

In the past, when Alex Ferguson was the manager, Manchester United and Royal Antwerp had a relationship in which a number of players were loaned to the Belgian team. Defenders John O’Shea and Jonny Evans were among the players who later helped Manchester United win the Premier League.

De Laet, a current teammate of Vermeeren, began his career with the Belgian squad before spending time at Old Trafford. He only made six appearances for United but went on to win the Premier League with Leicester City before joining his hometown team.