Barcelona face serious competition for the signing of Royal Antwerp youngster Arthur Vermeeren, according to Mundo Deportivo, with six other clubs interested in signing the Belgian wonderkid.
Vermeeren, 18, is reportedly ‘aware’ of interest from Barcelona as the Spanish giants continue to scout the midfielder.
The Belgian youngster played 90 minutes against Barca during Antwerp’s 5-0 Champions League defeat on Tuesday night and he was one of their standout players.
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On his transfer audition, with Barcelona likely keeping a very keen eye on his performance, Vermeeren won all four of his attempted ground duels, made three tackles, two interceptions and two clearances. Perhaps most importantly, he completed 91% of his passes.
However, despite the Blaugrana’s interest in Vermeeren, they will not have a free run at the teenager.
Mundo Deportivo, via RB Live, have reported that six other clubs are interested in the young Belgian, namely: Manchester United, RB Leipzig, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund, AS Monaco and West Ham United.
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Vermeeren, therefore, has plenty of options if he decides to leave Antwerp. His current contract in Belgium runs until 2026 after he signed an extension earlier this year, meaning the 18-year-old may stay put for a little while longer.
Vermeeren to leave Antwerp?
He is a regular for Belgium at U21 and a senior call-up will likely be on its way soon if he continues to perform at club level for Antwerp. The midfielder has already made 44 appearances for Antwerp’s first-team, despite his young age, and he has scored one goal and provided four assists during that time.
Vermeeren currently has an Expected Transfer Value (xTV) of €12.7 million, which has increased from just €400k at the start of 2023.
All seven of the clubs reportedly interested in Vermeeren signed at least one central midfielder during the summer transfer window. Barcelona signed Ilkay Gundogan and Oriol Romeu, Man Utd added Mason Mount and Sofyan Amrabat (loan), Leipzig purchased Christoph Baumgartner and Ajax acquired Sivert Mannsverk.
Denis Zakaria signed for Monaco and West Ham used the money earned through the sale of Declan Rice to sign James Ward-Prowse and Edson Alvarez.