Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen has confirmed that he is not seeking a move away from north London, and is “still confident” he will get a run in the side.
The centre back has spent much of the season on the sidelines with Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker the first choice duo, but while Vermaelen is eager to play he is more concerned at the Gunners remaining top of the league.
The 27-year-old made his first Premier League start this season in Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of Robin van Persie’s Manchester United, the opportunity only came due to Mertesacker’s illness but regardless he produced an encouraging outing and played no fault in the goal.
Although he will remain on the periphery when the German returns to action, Vermaelen is still feeling positive at Arsenal and knows he will have a role to play this season.
The Gunners captain told reporters:
I’m still confident I can play for this club. I keep reading stories that I want to leave. But that’s not the case. I’m still focused on the team. I am always positive.
In any case, it is not about my situation. It’s what the team do and I am really happy that we’re top of the league.
The loss to David Moyes’ side was Arsenal’s first away defeat in over 15 games. Naturally questions will be asked if Mertesacker’s presence could have impacted the game but regardless Vermaelen felt he was well prepared despite finding out last minute of his inclusion.
It wasn’t hard. I go into every game ready to play. I always make sure I’m mentally ready and physically ready to play, so it wasn’t difficult.
I knew it could happen at any moment so I’m always ready. I’ve been saying it for weeks and months and all of a sudden it happened.
The Belgium international overall had a solid outing. He put in some well timed tackles and his pace was invaluable at times. In terms of the goal, he can hardly be left accountable for it and the game could have easily ended in a clean sheet had Ramsey and/or Giroud battled Van Persie more diligently or if Gibbs had more hops. Zonal marking had us on the back foot.
It is instrumental that Arsenal do keep hold of Vermaelen in the winter window, and it appears he is not focused on leaving. He will get plenty of opportunities to play this season especially with the FA Cup also added to the mix. Should Mertesacker or Koscielny sustain an injury or become ill we have a more than capable replacement which is essential if we are to remain in the title race.
Very positive to hear the Verminator commit to the Arsenal cause despite largely playing second fiddle to Kosacker. He will get his chance.