Barcelona have scouted 18-year-old Belgian wonderkid ‘several times’ – report
After Sergio Busquets officially confirmed his desire to leave Camp Nou at the end of the season, Barcelona have stepped up their pursuit of a new defensive midfielder.
The Catalans have been linked with a slew of stars across Europe including Manchester City superstar Ilkay Gundogan, although it appears they are losing grip on their pursuit of the German international.
They have been also linked with a move for Martin Zubimendi, Sofyan Amrabat and Ruben Neves, among others.
However, Barcelona are not only looking at established options in their bid to replace Busquets. They are also in the market for long-term options, who can potentially make a breakthrough at Camp Nou under Xavi Hernandez.
One such option is Arthur Vermeeren, reports Pieter-Jan Calcoen. The Belgian journalist cites Spanish media, suggesting Barça are considering a move for the young defensive midfielder, who currently plies his trade for Royal Antwerp.
Aged just 18, Vermeeren has enjoyed a stellar breakthrough at Royal Antwerp this season, racking up 32 competitive appearances.
He has impressed the onlookers with his aggression and ability to win back possession in the middle of the park. He is also very athletic and technically adept, which makes him an ideal option for coach Xavi.
Cancoen adds Antwerp have received no offers for Vermeeren as of yet. The player does have a contract until 2026, meaning he could still cost a considerable fee, if the Catalans are to snap him up in the summer.
Cancoen, though, does admit that Barcelona have scouted him several times in the past and are indeed interested in acquiring his services ahead of the new season. But as of now, there has been no definitive advances from both sides.
So only time will tell how Barça plan to approach their pursuit of the young Belgian and whether or not the player himself is prepared to take the next step in his career.