Barcelona and Manchester United have reportedly set their sights on 18-year-old Belgian midfielder Arthur Vermeeren.

According to a report by Spanish outlet SPORT, Arthur Vermeeren is the subject of interest from Barcelona. The Catalan giants view the 18-year-old Royal Antwerp midfielder as a long-term successor to Sergio Busquets. And the youngster is also a target for Manchester United, who have contacted his entourage.

Arthur Vermeeren spent his formative years in his homeland, starting at hometown club Lierse SK. And after a short stint with KV Mechelen, the Belgian midfielder joined Royal Antwerp in 2018. Since then, he has come leaps and bounds, establishing himself as a regular for the Jupiler Pro League contender.

The 18-year-old has enjoyed a breakthrough season at Royal Antwerp. The youngster has turned out 39 times thus far, chipping in with two goals and two assists. And Vermeeren’s progress has captured the attention of several high-profile clubs, including Barcelona and Manchester United.

Barcelona will head into the summer transfer window scouring the market for a long-term successor to Sergio Busquets. Xavi Hernandez’s priority target is Martin Zubimendi, with Barcelona initiating talks with Real Sociedad for the Spaniard. But Zubimendi has a release clause worth €60 million, which is beyond the Catalan club’s budget.

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Arthur Vermeeren has thus emerged as a viable alternative, especially considering he can be a long-term solution. And Barcelona will look to open discussions over a move for the 18-year-old Belgian midfielder. But the Catalan giants face stiff competition from Manchester United in the race to sign the teenage sensation.

Manchester United might have signed Casemiro last summer, but the Brazilian midfielder is on the wrong side of 30. In addition, the Red Devils have suffered whenever Casemiro has been unavailable. So it behoves Manchester United to sign an alternative, with Vermeeren’s name emerging. And they have already contacted the youngster’s representatives.

Also Read: The Midfield Maestro: Sergio Busquets and his 18-year Barcelona Reign

With Manchester United already making the first move, Barcelona will have an uphill task pursuing him. But Barcelona’s interest can turn any player’s head, and it will be interesting to see if that is the case with the 18-year-old. For now, Vermeeren has emerged as a candidate to replace Busquets.

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