Eddie Howe target talks up Newcastle, Man Utd interest but timeline for £20m transfer still unclear
Royal Antwerp starlet Arthur Vermeeren is staying grounded but admits interest from the likes of Newcastle and Manchester United has taken him by surprise.
The 18-year-old has been turning heads with his displays in the Belgian Pro League. Several clubs have sent scouts to watch him and the talented youngster has not escaped the gaze of a few Premier League giants. It was reported by the Daily Mail back in February that both the Magpies and Red Devils are on the case.
And it is easy to see why. The midfielder has already made 12 starts among 14 top-flight appearances despite his tender age.
Mark van Bommel handed him his debut in August last year, stating that Vermeeren is a ‘fun guy to work with’.
The former Bayern Munich star also suggested the Belgium Under-18 ace would see plenty of game time.
And he has been true to his word, with the Lier-born star making a seamless transition to the senior side. That has prompted the big guns to start circling.
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The teenager admits it has been like a whirlwind at times but is happy to take it all in his stride.
“Everything went faster than expected,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws. “That’s only positive.
“At the same time, not much has changed in my life. I play with the first team at the weekend, but otherwise, I still go to school outside of football.
“I keep my feet on the ground and that’s the most important thing.”
Vermeeren fits Newcastle model
Both Manchester United and Newcastle would represent a significant upgrade on his current club.
Erik ten Hag’s methods are beginning to bear fruit at Old Trafford as he looks to drag the side back into the Champions League.
The same could be said of Newcastle as Eddie Howe has been charged with the task of bringing back the good times to St James’ Park.
Despite hitting the buffers of late, the ex-Bournemouth chief has led his side to sixth spot in the standings.
They look set to play in Europe next term and still have a tilt at the top four. Howe has generally focused recruitment on bringing in young players who he can develop.
However, talk of interest from both clubs does not seem to faze Vermeeren and he is happy to continue learning at Bosuilstadion.
“I’m not at all concerned with those kinds of rumours. I also realise that I can’t sit anywhere better at the moment than at Antwerp,” he added.
“There is a lot of mutual trust and I can continue to grow here. Why would I want to leave already?”
Reports suggest the man with 10 Belgium Under-17 appearances is in line for a senior international call up.
Domenico Tedesco is now in charge of Les Diables rouges and is said to be monitoring the young schemer.
A move to one of Europe’s top clubs may well stifle his international ambitions, however, as he is unlikely to see regular first-team football.
But the prospect of playing for one of the Premier League’s top clubs may be tough to resist.
Vermeeren has been valued at around £20m, a staggering amount given his lack of experience. But, if he progresses as expected it could prove to be a snip.
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