After a flying start to his Arsenal career, with the Belgian scoring eight times in 45 matches and becoming the spine of the Gunners defence, he suffered a serious long-term tendon problem that restricted Vermaelen to just five appearances.
The 25-year-old did start the final two games of last season but, just as his campaign was getting back on track, it ground to a halt. Vermaelen admits he could have done without a summer break and, back at London Colney for pre-season training, he told Arsenal Player why he is hungrier than ever for success.
“I am really excited, especially after last year,” said Vermaelen. “I want to prove myself again and show the people what I’m able to do.
“Personally yes, of course I am more determined, I played a lot of games in my first year and I hoped to do well in my second year but unfortunately I had a big injury and I couldn’t play a lot so I couldn’t show the people a lot. I’m determined to go on the pitch this year and fight for it.
“But the most important thing is the team of course and I hope we can work as hard as we can as individuals and make the team as strong as we can.”
Vermaelen will be on the flight to Malaysia on Sunday as Arsenal kick off an Asia Tour that ends in China at the end of the week. Wenger sees the Belgian centrehalf as a new signing for Arsenal this season, and he will be a integral part of the team this season in the quest for silverware, so stay fit Vermaelen, no injuries please!