Arsenal and Man Utd blow it! Rodri’s heir escapes Premier League giants

Robin Bairner
Rodri, Man City, 2023/24
© ProShots

Arsenal and Manchester United will be left kicking themselves in a matter of years after allowing Arthur Vermeeren sign for Atletico Madrid from Antwerp.

It’s not just the fact that the 18-year-old has been allowed to sign for the Spanish side, it’s that Diego Simeone’s men have struck a positive bargain in doing so.

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Vermeeren’s total transfer free, including potential bonuses, are set to come to no more than €27 million.

That might seem like a steep price for a teenager who has only 66 senior club appearances under his belt, but the sky is the limit for the young Belgian.

Data analytics experts SciSports already give Vermeeren an Estimated Transfer Value (ETV) of €39.6m – substantially more than the total fee Atleti might pay for him.

His value is so high simply because his ceiling is so high.

A potentially world-class performer

SciSports give him a potential SciSkill of 125.1. This is a value based around the analysis of hundreds of in-game data points. To put this into perspective, this score is bettered only by Manchester City defensive midfielder Rodri among players who feature in Vermeeren’s favoured position.

It puts him ahead of Arsenal’s Declan Rice and Man Utd’s Casemiro by a comfortable margin and suggests that he has the capacity to become a world-class operator.

Furthermore, according to SciSports, Vermeeren has the potential to become a key player at both Arsenal and Man Utd. He would initially start out as a hot prospect for both.

Arthur Vermeeren
© ProShots – Arthur Vermeeren

Atletico, though, have stolen a march on both clubs in a move that will dramatically reduce the average age of their squad.

With an ageing squad, Vermeeren’s arrival in the Spanish capital will help rejuvenate a roster in which the vast majority of the players are aged between 28 and 31.

This in itself should be taken as a further indication of Vermeeren’s talent. Simeone is not a coach who puts his faith in youth, yet he has earmarked this young man, who plays in the position ‘El Cholo’ mastered during his playing days, as someone worth investing in.

Arsenal and Man Utd may not regret their decision now, or in a matter of weeks or months, but in the years ahead, this could well be seen as a huge missed opportunity to grab a bargain.

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