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12:00 PM UTC
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Transfer Rater: Mertens to Chelsea

Football Whispers

Galatasaray eyeing move for Ahmed Musa

 By Kevin Palmer

United bid for Vermaelen confirmed

LONDON -- Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Manchester United are among the teams to have expressed an interest in signing Thomas Vermaelen, but he has admitted that he would rather sell the defender to a foreign club.

United have been heavily linked with a move for Vermaelen throughout the summer while Barcelona have reportedly made a 10 million-pound bid for the Belgium international, who is out of contract at the Emirates Stadium next summer.

Wenger suggested at a news conference ahead of Sunday's Community Shield against Manchester City that a decision on future of his current club captain will be made imminently.

After confirming Arsenal had received offers for the versatile defender, Wenger was then asked by reporters at Emirates Stadium whether United were among the clubs interested.

"I think they could be in the group," he said, referring to United. "Look, it could happen. I said that from the start of preseason that Thomas leaves us. He needs to play now.

"He had an outstanding attitude and behaviour [when he didn't play regularly last season]. He's in a position where it is difficult to stand in his way if he finds an interesting opportunity. We never speak about the price, but you will find out what happens very soon."

Asked if he would prefer to sell the player to a foreign club rather than send him to Old Trafford, Wenger replied: "Ideally, yes. It is an option. We have offers from abroad as well."

Vermaelen became Arsenal's club captain in 2012 when Robin van Persie was sold to United.

Wenger was keen to distance himself from continued links with Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira, who has been mooted as a potential signing throughout this summer.

He said: "I don't know who has put him on the market -- is it his agent or somebody else? Is it the press? But we were never close to signing him because Jack Wilshere has come back fit and in midfield we have quite a few offensive box-to-box players."

The Arsenal boss was then asked about a possible move for Liverpool's unsettled defender Daniel Agger, as he insisted he would not be drawn on specific transfer targets as he heads into the final few weeks of the window.

"I cannot give you any names specifically who will join us at the moment," he said. "We are not close to signing anybody and it will be the wrong information. We have still three-and-a-half weeks before the transfer market is closed and we are open to it [more signings], but it has to be a player who can strengthen our squad.

"Let's not forget that Joel Campbell has come back plus the addition of [Mathieu] Debuchy, [Calum] Chambers and [Alexis] Sanchez who have joined us. We have already bought four players, we have not lost players until now, so we have a big squad at the moment."


As we count down to kickoff on Aug. 16, ESPN FC previews all 20 teams in this season's competition. Can Burnley, QPR and Leicester stay up? Will the new signings of Alexis Sanchez, Diego Costa and Adam Lallana help usurp Man City's crown? Will Manchester United get back on track under Louis van Gaal?

ESPN FC's Richard Jolly contributed to this report


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