Arthur Vermeeren: Arsenal & Tottenham scout teenage star

  • Arsenal & Tottenham scouted Arthur Vermeereen this week
  • Teenage midfielder scored in Champions League win over Barcelona
  • Barca, Bayern Munich, Juventus & Man City also interested
Arthur Vermeeren continues to attract transfer interest
Arthur Vermeeren continues to attract transfer interest / BSR Agency/GettyImages

Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur both had scouting presences at Royal Antwerp's Champions League win over Barcelona this week to watch Arthur Vermeeren in action, 90min understands.

Vermeeren broke into the Antwerp team aged just 17 last season and played a significant role as the club secured a first Belgian title in 66 years. Now 18, the midfielder has gone from strength to strength in recent months and has caught the attention of many big clubs.

90min understands that keeping tabs on Vermeeren was the main purpose of scouts representing Arsenal and Tottenham being at the Bosuilstadion in the far north of Belgium. The pair of Premier League rivals have already been watching the teenager closely all season. Borussia Dortmund were also believed to be in attendance at the particular game for the same reason.

It was a good night to choose. Vermeeren was arguably the best player on the pitch as Antwerp pulled off a surprise win to claim their first ever Champions League points – they were thrashed in the first round by Real Madrid in their only previous European Cup campaign in 1957/58.

Arthur Vermeeren
Arthur Vermeeren scored as Antwerp beat Barcelona / Dean Mouhtaropoulos/GettyImages

The emerging star scored the opening goal of the game within the first two minutes, finishing well past Barcelona goalkeeper Inaki Pena after the Antwerp press had forced a mistake. Although Barca equalised, the Belgian side got back ahead in the second half and then claimed a famous victory when 17-year-old George Ilenikhena scored deep into stoppage time only moments after fellow 17-year-old Marc Guiu thought he had salvaged a late draw for the visitors.

There stands to be substantial competition for Vermeeren’s signature. As 90min reported in October, Barcelona are also among his admirers. They got a first-hand taste of his quality on Wednesday, with Antwerp boss Mark van Bommel having joked prior to the reverse fixture in Spain back in September that he would refuse to speak to Xavi about Vermeeren "because he would buy him immediately".

Bayern Munich, Juventus and Manchester City are interested too, with the latter joining Arsenal and Tottenham in previously getting in touch with Antwerp to make initial enquiries.