Football News

Royal Antwerp wonderkid Arthur Vermeeren warned not to join ‘snake pit’ Man Utd after historic Champions League evening

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 17:45, 14 December 2023

Royal Antwerp is prepared to potentially lose teenage sensation Arthur Vermeeren in January but he’s been told Manchester United shouldn’t be his destination.

The 18-year-old midfielder has been tipped for a bright future and there’s no shortage of suitors. In the past Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City have reportedly shown interest.


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As usual, Manchester United — who in the past enjoyed a working relationship with Antwerp – are linked, but ex-Dutch international Jan Mulder isn’t convinced before offering his piece of advice.

“Manchester United? That’s a snake pit. I wouldn’t [go there], he would be better off staying at Antwerp,” told Belgian outlet Het Laatste Nieuws. “I see him in the Bundesliga. Bayern Munich!”

Having come through Antwerp’s youth set-up, the Lier native sees his present deal expire in June 2026, but given the nature of modern football, Vermeeren could leave as early as the next winter transfer window.

“In the summer we have already spoken to clubs that Arthur and his entourage are open to,” Royal Antwerp general manager Sven Jaecques told reporters. “They will return in January. There is no point in speculating now about what will happen in January. The key lies primarily with the player himself. But if he continues to develop like this, it will be almost impossible to keep him in June.”

Vermeeren’s stock rose in Antwerp’s final Champions League game this season. He opened the scoring as they ran out 3-2 winners over Barcelona, a historic win, as never before had the club won a European Cup or UCL game.

In scoring against Barça the wonderkid became the youngest Belgian player to score a goal in the Champions League (18y 309d). Already in this season’s competition, Vermeeren became the first Belgian player since Kevin de Bruyne to assist twice in a single Champions League game.

Indeed the only teenager directly involved in more UCL goals in the group stage was Paris Saint-Germain’s very own Warren Zaïre-Emery (one goal and three assists).

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