Current Gunners captain Thomas Vermaelen was warming the bench for the final two months of the campaign, as boss Arsene Wenger preferred to deploy Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in the heart of Arsenal’s defence. Wenger’s strategy worked with great effect too, as the duo helped the north London club finish inside the top-four, and achieve their primary objective of qualifying for the Champions League next season.
Vermaelen’s inconsistent performances prompted Wenger to change his plans and the Frenchman focused on Mertesacker and Koscielny as his first choice defensive pairing. Arsenal were leaky through the first half of the season, but the duo helped shore up the defence in the final months to pip Spurs to a Champions League spot.
According to Dailymail, the 27-year-old Vermaelen is currently the third-choice defender at the club, and could leave the club if his position becomes untenable. Wenger is keen to strengthen his defence, and has identified Swansea’s Ashley Williams to provide more steel to his backline.
The Belgian will be considered as the fourth-choice defender if Williams joins Arsenal. The report suggests that the Gunners were interested in signing the Capital One cup winner during the January transfer window, and are expected to renew their interest in the 28-year-old this summer.
The Belgium international would ideally like to stay at the club and fight for his place but the arrival of another defender may force him to look at other options. The ‘Verminator’, as he is fondly known by the Gunners faithful, knows that he needs to play regularly to stand a chance of featuring for his country in next year’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Daniel van Buyten are all vying for a place alongside Vincent Kompany as Belgium’s first-choice pairing for the World Cup and Vermaelen knows his position may be in jeopardy if he doesn’t feature for Arsenal in the upcoming season.
The Arsenal board are reportedly willing to sell their captain for the right price, and the arrival of another central defender may be the final nail in the coffin for Vermaelen.