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Thomas Vermaelen set to end Arsenal nightmare?

Feb 4, 2014, 10:46 AM EST

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After a season of woe and sitting on the bench as his Arsenal side sit top of the Premier League standings, Thomas Vermaelen is rumored to be on his way out of the Emirates.

Vermaelen, 28, has played in just 11 games for Arsenal this season as the Belgian national team team captain has gone from skipper at Arsenal to back up, following the emergence of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny as Arsene Wenger‘s first-choice center back pairing.

According to reports Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg are willing to give Vermaelen an escape ladder from his nightmare in North London.

With the World Cup looming large, Belgian boss Marc Wimots is sweating on Vermaelen being at the peak of his game to help Diables Rogues become the dark horses of the tournament as the former Ajax academy product is the leader and heart of Belgium’s defense. At Zenit fellow Belgian international Axel Witsel and Nicholas Lombaerts would welcome Vermaelen, but can Arsenal really afford to let their third-choice center back go?

Vermaelen is said to be settled in North London since his move from Holland in 2009, but is growing increasingly worried as Mertesacker and Koscielny form an indomitable partnership at the heart of Arsenal defense that has more clean sheets (11) than any other PL team this season and has let in just 21 goals in 24 games.

With Jan Vertonghen, Vincent Kompany, Daniel Van Buyten and several promising youngsters to fight with for a starting spot at the World Cup this summer, Vermaelen is desperate to go to the big dance in Brazil after becoming a prominent figure for Belgium and Arsenal in the past few seasons.

Should the talented Belgian defender make a loan switch to try and play regularly before the World Cup? Or should he stay put at the Emirates to wait for a chance to shine?

It will be a tricky decision for Vermaelen to make. Which comes first, club or country?

  1. rafibomb10 - Feb 4, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    I’ve watched Vermaelen for years now, and I still think he is one of the best center-backs in the world. He has an incredible left foot, and is quality on the ball with his distribution. Honestly he is someone that one would think Arsene would be in love with, but it seems everything Wenger does is backwards. We all know Arsene loves his Frenchmen, and would never consider sitting Koscielny.

    Its probably quite a stretch, but I believe one reason Jurgen Klinsman is so keen on playing Matt Besler is because of his similarities to Vermaelen. Minus some quality obviously. However they are both solid left-center-backs with the same skill set.

    Vermaelen needs to move on and get away from the upcoming train wreck that Arsenal is destined for.

    Great Article JPW!

  2. ascriptlikethis - Feb 4, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    The one problem with this scenario is that it is highly unlikely that Arsenal will let him go. They only really have 3 senior CBs on the roster, and if Mertesacker or Koscielny go out injured then Vermaelen is pretty much the only cover they have. Bacary Sagna can play centrally in a pinch, but then they would be left bereft of their best right back. Even though I’m sure Zenit would love to have Vermaelen, and he might even want to go so that he can get some playing time, there is no way Arsenal are going to let him walk out the door.

  3. nygiantstones - Feb 4, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    @rafi

    Nice try on the troll attempt. The problem with Vermaelen is that he lacked any sense of defensive discipline. He spent way too much time up the pitch trying to get involved in scoring goals instead of defending against them. He left the back line exposed and forced midfielders to drop back and cover for him. Not what we need on this current team with a force of attacking midfielders. I like Vermaelen but I prefer Koscielny as he is the perfect foil to Mertesacker. Pretty hard to argue with the results as well.

    Not sure what train wreck you’re referring to. Worst Arsenal will do this year is finish third in the League and they have a solid chance over the last 14 matches to stay in first. If you want to see what a train wreck looks like, check out Tottenham. Way to spend millions for the usual 6th place.

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