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Arsenal want swap deal for ... hang on, him?!

According to reports, Arsenal are interested in a couple of United squad players as part of any Thomas Vermaelen deal.

Michael Regan

Player-plus-cash deals are exceptionally common when it comes to rumours, but exceptionally rare when it comes to actual deals that get done. So before we proceed with today's frankly delicious slice of rumour pie, we warn you to keep one firm hand on your scepticism at all times.

Suitably braced, we press on with the news that, according to John Cross in the Mirror, Arsene Wenger is keen for any Thomas Vermaelen-to-United deal to include, going in the other direction, Tom Cleverley.

That's right. Tom Cleverley. Apparently Wenger nurtures an "admiration" for the midfielder, which doesn't seem compatible with the fact that he's been "keeping tabs" on him but, well, who are we to argue? If Wenger wants to take on the challenge of turning TC23 from the player he actually is to the player he wants to be, then he's more than welcome to do so. Good luck to you both. Apparently Wenger is also keen on Chris Smalling, who at would at least be a direct replacement, but that isn't anywhere near as funny.

This development has completely shifted TBB's position on a prospective Vermaelen transfer. We've gone from broad scepticism to absolute desperation: this simply needs to happen. Imagine how Arsenal's fans would feel about a summer in which they pass up the chance to repatriate Cesc Fabregas, then swap their captain for Tom Cleverley. Come on, Arsene. Do the right thing.