Should Vermaelen Stay Or Go

VermaelenWhen Vermaelen was dropped at the tail end of last season, it looked as though his Arsenal career was nearing its’ abrupt end for obvious reasons. It is unusual for a captain to be relegated to the bench and Wenger’s refusal to reinstate him meant Le Prof had lost confidence in him and with Koscielny and Mertesacker making a formidable partnership at the heart of defence, it seems it will take something extra for Vermaelen to return to the first team.

This situation has thrown his Arsenal future in doubt with reports linking him with a move away but the Belgian defender has fired back by declaring he won’t cower away from the Emirates at the sight of a battle for places.

“I am happy with Arsenal,” he told Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. “I haven’t played that much lately and that left me frustrated. But things can turn around soon. I went to the bench quickly, but I can be in the starting XI just as quick. I am going to work hard for that.”

Vermaelen acknowledged that the competition for places in defence at Arsenal was part and parcel of life at a Champions League club.

“Those things happen in top level football,” he said of finding himself among the substitutes.

“Arsenal are a big club with a lot of competition for each spot. It’s not a guarantee you play every match, but that doesn’t keep me up at night.”

I wonder if he is speaking truthfully or tongue in cheek. It doesn’t seem as though Wenger is ready to reinstate him back into the starting line-up any time soon. According to reports, the Gunners are closing in on sealing a deal for Swansea’s Williams and have also been credited with interest in Liverpool’s Skrtel. In the midst of all these interests, I wonder what then is the fate of Vermaelen? Arsenal are keen to reduce the wage bill and keeping more than 3 experienced center-backs won’t help that cause. Besides, irregular first team football would adversely jeopardize his chances of making the Belgian squad for the 2014 World Cup should they make it there.

It is fact that Vermaelen is a good defender but it is also a fact that he had a below par season and in his absence, Koscielny seized the initiative and Arsenal’s defence is the better for it. It will be good if he decides to stay back to fight for his place in the team but knowing Wenger for who he is, I doubt if he will ever reclaim it unless something terrible happens to the preferred duo. In the past when Wenger dropped Lauren for Eboue, the former had to leave ditto for Gilberto dropping off for Flamini.

It will be mutually beneficial to Arsenal and Vermaelen if he moves on. Arsenal will recoup some of the investment and reduce their wage bill while Vermaelen will have a better chance at first team football and his Belgian place won’t be at risk. Staying back to fight for his place with Wenger’s mind made up may just be a tall dream.When Vermaelen was dropped at the tail end of last season, it looked as though his Arsenal career was nearing its’ abrupt end for obvious reasons. It is unusual for a captain to be relegated to the bench and Wenger’s refusal to reinstate him meant Le Prof had lost confidence in him and with Koscielny and Mertesacker making a formidable partnership at the heart of defence, it seems it will take something extra for Vermaelen to return to the first team.

This situation has thrown his Arsenal future in doubt with reports linking him with a move away but the Belgian defender has fired back by declaring he won’t cower away from the Emirates at the sight of a battle for places.

“I am happy with Arsenal,” he told Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. “I haven’t played that much lately and that left me frustrated. But things can turn around soon. I went to the bench quickly, but I can be in the starting XI just as quick. I am going to work hard for that.”

Vermaelen acknowledged that the competition for places in defence at Arsenal was part and parcel of life at a Champions League club.

“Those things happen in top level football,” he said of finding himself among the substitutes.

“Arsenal are a big club with a lot of competition for each spot. It’s not a guarantee you play every match, but that doesn’t keep me up at night.”

I wonder if he is speaking truthfully or tongue in cheek. It doesn’t seem as though Wenger is ready to reinstate him back into the starting line-up any time soon. According to reports, the Gunners are closing in on sealing a deal for Swansea’s Williams and have also been credited with interest in Liverpool’s Skrtel. In the midst of all these interests, I wonder what then is the fate of Vermaelen? Arsenal are keen to reduce the wage bill and keeping more than 3 experienced center-backs won’t help that cause. Besides, irregular first team football would adversely jeopardize his chances of making the Belgian squad for the 2014 World Cup should they make it there.

It is fact that Vermaelen is a good defender but it is also a fact that he had a below par season and in his absence, Koscielny seized the initiative and Arsenal’s defence is the better for it. It will be good if he decides to stay back to fight for his place in the team but knowing Wenger for who he is, I doubt if he will ever reclaim it unless something terrible happens to the preferred duo. In the past when Wenger dropped Lauren for Eboue, the former had to leave ditto for Gilberto dropping off for Flamini.

It will be mutually beneficial to Arsenal and Vermaelen if he moves on. Arsenal will recoup some of the investment and reduce their wage bill while Vermaelen will have a better chance at first team football and his Belgian place won’t be at risk. Staying back to fight for his place with Wenger’s mind made up may just be a tall dream.

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