Barcelona have made a bid for Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen, who is expected to leave the club this summer having fallen behind Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker in the pecking order at the Emirates.

Vermalaen had been linked with a move to Manchester United, who are also keen to shore up their leaky defence, however the interest from Barcelona may now stop that deal from happening, as Arsenal would surely be more receptive to offers coming from abroad than those made by a direct rival.

Barcelona are keen to shore up their defence following the retirement of Carles Puyol. The centre of defence has long been an issue for Barcelona, with defensive midfielder Javier Mascherano now a regular in a central defensive position, despite his imperious performances for Argentina in the centre of the park at the World Cup clearly demonstrating that he is much more effective in that position.

Barcelona have made numerous high profile attacking additions in the last few years, with a minimum of £48 million and £75 million having been spent on Neymar and Luis Suarez respectively in recent summers. In comparison their spending on defensive reinforcements has been much more low key, with only Jeremy Mathieu having arrived from Valencia, albeit in a hugely inflated £20 million transfer.

Vermaelen is in the final year of his contract at Arsenal and will likely be keen on a move to Barcelona. With all parties keen on the move it could be a formality, with only Manchester United to be disappointed by the outcome.

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