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Skipper Questions Arsenal Future – Can We Blame Him?!
Thomas Vermaelen has admitted he may have to leave Arsenal in January if he doesn’t regain his place in the first team over the coming weeks.
The centre-back’s demise has been drastic with Vermaelen going from one of the first names on the team-sheet and being made captain 14 months ago, to nothing more than a squad player these days.
His poor form last season saw him dropped following a terrible display away at Tottenham in February and he hasn’t had a look-in ever since with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny forging an impressive partnership at the back.
Injury in pre-season meant Vermaelen didn’t get the opportunity to make a real push at a first team place and the Mertesacker-Koscielny combination has continued this season, helping us to the top of the Premier League table.
Vermaelen has returned to full fitness and is technically still our club captain but has made just two starts this season, one in the Capital One Cup and the other when Kos was suspended, so his first team opportunities look bleak at present and with the World Cup on the horizon it’s no surprise to hear he’ll consider his future in January if things don’t change. He was quoted as saying:
‘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.’
Belgium have already qualified for the World Cup and it looks as though Vermaelen will start against Wales tonight, but his place in Marc Wilmots first team is not guaranteed with the likes of Vincent Kompany, Jan Vertonghen and Daniel van Buyten also pushing for a starting spot.
Kompany is a dead cert if he’s fit and Vertonghen has been extremely impressive for Spurs, so it’s difficult to see how Wilmot could justify starting Vermaelen if he’s not playing regularly.
I have a feeling we might have sold Thomas in the summer if he didn’t get injured so I wouldn’t be surprised if he did move on in January. It wouldn’t be ideal, as knowing our luck as soon as he’s sold Mertesacker or Koscielny will get injured, but Arsene rarely stands in a players way if he wants out and you can’t blame a player of Vermaelen’s quality for wanting a move.
He’s too good to sit on the bench and individually he may even be a better all-round player than Per or Kos, but he just can’t seem to forge a partnership with either of them while their partnership is blossoming nicely.
It’s a difficult situation but unless things change over the next few months, I wouldn’t be surprised if TV5 was sold this winter. If he is, it’s imperative we bring in an experienced and quality replacement as we’re already pretty thin in the centre-back department.
What do you think of Vermaelen’s situation?