After Thomas Vermaelen joined Arsenal for some 10million euros in 2009, he quickly became a regular member of the squad’s defence, one of Arsene Wenger’s first team regulars and trusted player on the park to extent that he assumed the captaincy. Now however, with the World Cup on the horizon, and Vermaelen’s Belgian national team already qualified for Brazil, the defender may be compelled to look for a new club in January, not only to ensure first team club football, but also to regain his place in the national team.
The Belgian’s first season at the Emirates
saw him play 33 league games for the club, and he became established as one of the leading defenders in the league. Unfortunately, the following season, an injury, first incurred on international duty with Belgium, was the precursor to a season bedevilled by setbacks. It’s truncated nature meant that Vermaelen only record a handful of appearances for the Gunners. The following two seasons saw a return to health and form however and a return of 29 games in the league.
Nothing is ever really secure in football however, and when Wenger signed the German centre-back, Per Mertesacker, many pundits thought that the idea was to provide back up for the Belgian. Such as been the form of the experienced German however, and the partnership developed with Laurent Koscielny, that the Franco-German axis has been very much the first choice for Arsenal this season and with their storming start to the campaign, unless there’re injuries or a sudden loss of form, it seems that Vermaelen may well be consigned to a period on the sidelines before he can add to his single league appearance of the term to date.
Worse for Vermaelen is that his absence from Arsenal’s first eleven has meant that national manager Marc Wilmotts has now established Tottenham’s Vertonghen alongside skipper, and Manchester City stalwart Vincent Kompany. For Vermaelen time, with Belgium’s first foray into the World Cup finals in 12 years awaiting next summer, is very much a pressing commodity. According to a report in the Daily Mail online, it’s an issue that player is well aware of.
The January transfer window may offer a way out for the defender. Questioned about his prospects at the Emirates, and how he saw this affecting his opportunities with the national team, Vermaelen replied: ‘I’ll have to think about that when it’s necessary. January is still a few months ahead. Of course, never playing will not be the ideal situation for me to go to the World Cup, that’s for sure. People ask me if I panic because I’m not playing a lot but I’m not. I have spoken to the manager but it will remain private between us. Things can happen in a split second and change my situation. That can happen tomorrow or next weekend. In that case, we will speak differently in January. I have to be ready for that.’
What is certain however, is that should the Belgian be allowed to leave the Emirates, it is likely that a number of high profile clubs would be heading the queue for his services. Truth be told, he’s probably not a player that Arsene Wenger would like to contemplate losing. Should nothing change between now and the new year however, it seems highly likely that Vermaelen will be pushing to move.
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