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Does This Prove Vermaelen Has All-But Left Arsenal For Man Utd?
It’s something most Arsenal fans have been expecting for some time, but does this picture of Calum Chambers in training today prove that Thomas Vermaelen already has one foot at Man Utd?
The Belgian international has been strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford this summer with Louis van Gaal supposedly ready to spend around £12m on the 28-year-old as he continues to re-shape his United squad.
Nothing official has come from either camp as yet, but the signs are there if you want to see them that Vermaelen is already preparing for life away from north London.
There has been no sign of our ‘skipper’ so far in pre-season and there are strong rumours he hasn’t travelled to Austria for our four-day training camp. From all the pictures that have been published online of the squad training, I have yet to see one that includes Vermaelen. I’ve read some fans speculating that he has a small knock so didn’t travel, but that seems far too coincidental to me.
However, the club have released images of our latest signing, Calum Chambers, being put through his paces and it was interesting to see the 19-year-old was wearing Vermaelen’s No.5 kit.
Chambers sealed his move to Arsenal on Monday and was quickly handed the No.21 shirt, so why was he training in Vermaelen’s number today? Maybe it’s as simple as the club didn’t get round to printing off any training tops with ’21′ on them, but I’d find that difficult to believe.
Even if that was the case, why not just have Chambers wear a top with no number on it or an unassigned number instead of letting the youngster, a new teenage signing, wear the captain’s top?
It’s a very odd move and in any other circumstance it could be seen as showing disrespect to the club captain. Could you image a young upstart wearing Tony Adams kit back in the day? However, in this instance I think it’s another clear sign that Vermaelen is barely considered an Arsenal player anymore, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if a move to United was already agreed.
The problem is we can’t let him leave until a replacement is brought in as Per Mertesacker isn’t going to be ready to face Man City in the Community Shield and is also likely to miss our season opener again Crystal Palace as our German trio only return to training on the 11th August.
Perhaps Chambers is viewed as Vermaelen’s replacement? The youngster is able to play in the middle of defence but it would be a hugely risky move to replace an experienced defender like Vermaelen with a player who has played less than 25 Premier League games and the vast majority of those have come at right-back.
So once Vermaelen’s move to United is confirmed, I fully expect we’ll bring in an experienced centre-back to support Kos and Per but who that player is remains to be seen.
For now, Vermaelen is likely to keep his head down, hold tight and wait for the green light to finalise his switch to Old Trafford, and he’ll join an ever-growing list of players to jump ship to one of our rivals.