Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen has hinted for the first time that he might consider leaving the club in January in order to improve his chances of playing in the World Cup finals.
The 27-year-old has lost his starting place to the partnership between Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker and has made only one sub appearance in the league so far. Although, it has to be noted that the Belgian star remained sidelined through injury for a long time and missed the pre-season with the Gunners.
Both Koscielny and Mertesacker have been in terrific form for the Gunners and unless either of them gets injured/suspended/suffer loss of form, the chances of Vermaelen breaking into the starting XI is thin.
When asked about his position at the Emirates, Vermaelen said as quoted in the Daily Mail:
“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.”
The problem with Vermaelen is he is too good a defender to warm the bench. But, Wenger can hardly break the winning combination in the team and that’s why the Frenchman will have to stick with the defensive duo of Koscielny and Mertesacker, as long as they continue to perform.
Secondly, with the World Cup approaching, every player wants to play regularly and impress his national team manager in the process. If Vermaelen doesn’t feature regularly, he might lose his place in the star studded Belgian squad. Already, Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen are blocking his path and further absence from the game could be detrimental for his international career as well.
Should Vermaelen leave the club in the January Transfer window? Or what should Wenger do to keep him happy?