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Arsenal to pip Barcelona to Belgian starlet

Arsenal are set to beat Barcelona to the signing of young Belgian midfielder Arthur Vermeeren.

The 18 year old plays for Royal Antwerp, whom he helped win the league title last season. He stood out both for his composure on the ball, and his ability to win it back in midfield.

The Spanish club have been looking for a long-term replacement for Sergio Busquets, and had identified the teenager as a possible option.

However, Arsenal have also been tracking his progress for some time, and could be ready to move for him as early as January.

The fee is likely to be around ₤13 million, and that is a sum that Barcelona, given their current financial travails, just cannot commit to currently.

He has been capped by Belgium at every age level from under 17 upwards, and recently made his debut for the full national team.

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