Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted captain Thomas Vermaelen might be headed out of the club.
The 28-year-old joined the Premier League club back in 2009 and his solid performances made him cement his place in the starting 11. After the departure Cesc Fabregas in 2011 to La Liga giants Barcelona, and Robin van Persie to arch rivals Manchester United in 2012, the centre-back was given the responsibility to captain the side. He clearly demonstrated leadership skills but the Belgian international’s performances became unconvincing thereafter. That coupled with some fitness issues turned him from indispensable to a squad player. The Belgian was largely receded to the bench last season as Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny put on a strong defensive partnership.
Vermaelen has been linked with a move away from the Emirates all summer and looking at his current situation, pricing away the player won’t be a difficult task. Manchester United, Barcelona and most recently, Liverpool have been linked with a move for the Arsenal captain. United have lost three defensive veterans, and are in search for a solid, experienced centre back; Luis Enrique is revamping the Barcelona side and is also looking for another centre back after getting Jeremy Matthieu from Valencia already; Liverpool currently have enough defenders in the side, especially after buying Dejan Lovren from Southampton but Daniel Agger’s future at the club is uncertain and the Reds could surely benefit from Vermaelen’s services.
Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Arsene Wenger said defender Thomas Vermaelen is injured but admitted: “It is a possibility that he goes.” Wenger added that if their captain did end up departing at the end of the window, the club will find a replacement because the Belgian is “an important player in our squad”.
The Frenchman would have to bring in a central defender to replace the departing captain. John Stones of Everton, Real Madrid’s Alvaro Arbeloa and Manchester City defender Matija Nastasic have been linked with a move to Arsenal.
Arsenal have done great business in the transfer window so far. The signature of Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona has been one of the highlights of the summer as the Gunners went all out and won the battle for the Chilean ace as Liverpool fought them till the end. Wenger signed Newcastle right-back Mathieu Debuchyand, Colombia and Nice goalkeeper David Ospina and Southampton prodigy Calum Chambers.
Wenger is happy with Arsenal’s transfer business so far and said, “I am very happy because I did what I wanted and I am still hoping to do more. It is 1 August and the transfer window closes on the 31st. It is a long time. We are a bit ahead of what we usually do because the availability on the market was bigger than before.”