Antwerp demand RECORD Vermeeren fee after Barcelona masterclass

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner
  • Updated: 14 Dec 2023 09:44 GMT
  • 3 min read
Arthur Vermeeren celebrates scoring for Antwerp against Barcelona in the Champions League
© ProShots

Arthur Vermeeren enhanced his burgeoning reputation on Wednesday as he helped Antwerp stun Barcelona 3-2 in the Champions League.

The highly rated 18-year-old needed only a couple of minutes to find the net against Barca in what proved a thrilling victory for the Belgians as they picked up their first points of the season in the competition.

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Vermeeren was the star of the show for the home side as he picked up the Player of the Match award come full-time.

He has already been linked with the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool, while Barca have also been associated with the teenager, though how they can compete financially with the Premier League heavyweights is certainly questionable at this point.

Prior to the Champions League clash, Antwerp had already talked up the worth of the midfielder.

“If we sell it, it will definitely be at the right price. We’ll see whether he becomes the most expensive outgoing transfer in Belgium ever,” CEO Sven Jacques had told HLN.

The Belgian transfer record presently stands at the €36.5m that AC Milan spent on Charles De Ketelaere to sign him from Club Brugge in 2022.

Arthur Vermeeren in action with Belgium
© ProShots - Arthur Vermeeren in action with Belgium

Vermeeren himself does not appear in a hurry to leave.

“Not at all,” he said after the game. “As long as nothing happens, I’m fully focused on Antwerp and I will give my all in every match.”

Vermeeren hailed for Barcelona display

Vermeeren’s Estimated Transfer Value (ETV), meanwhile, stands at €36m, having risen from €3.1m at the end of last season.

His impressive Champions League performances in a struggling side have been one of the major reasons for this incredible leap, which is set to land his club a record fee in the not-too-distant future.

Against Barcelona, Vermereen’s display was hailed in Belgium.

“Barcelona may not have played their great tiki-taka football but that makes it more difficult to play between the lines, which is what he did for 90 minutes,” pundit Jan Mulder, a former Netherlands international, said. “It was a very good performance from him.”

Ex-Belgium star Gilles De Bilde, who played with Sheffield Wednesday in the Premier League, added: “I especially want to emphasize what a 'down to earth' boy he is: feet on the ground, calm, ready and clear in his analysis. Will he stay in Antwerp? The reality in football today and certainly for a Belgian club is that if someone comes and puts 35 million on the table, you have to let him go. It's that simple.”

Antwerp, though, will do their best to land as great a fee for Vermeeren as possible.

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