It’s not often you see a club captain spending majority of the season on the bench. Yet despite doing so Thomas Vermaelen still goes about his captain’s duties with pride, not to mention giving his all when given the rare chance to play.
The emergence of Laurent Kosicleny and Per Mertesacker as an established centre back pairing has been a godsend for Gooners, but it has come at the expense of the Verminator who is a highly experienced international in his own right.
The Belgium international’s contract expires at the end of next season and has consequently been linked with a number of high profile clubs including Napoli and Barcelona over the course of the season.
Starting just eight games this campaign, he remains undecided on his eventual future, but his immediate focus remains on the Gunners and their title and FA Cup charge.
He told reporters at the Allianz Arena:
There has been a lot of speculation, but I can’t talk about it because I don’t know what is going on.
My focus is at Arsenal at the moment. There is still a lot to play for – I can’t do anything about rumours.
It is not easy, but I try to stay positive.
Firstly, I have been injured in the last couple of weeks, but when the boss needs me, I try to play well.
I know anything can happen, so I am happy to play when he needs me.
From my point of view, I hope it is as much as it can be. I work hard for the team and that is the only thing that I can do.
The last sentence is exactly what we as fans love to hear from our players, and the mental strength exasperated from our captain keeps him in high regard as he continues to struggle to oust Koscielny in the side.
From an Arsenal perspective we need him to stay and sign a new deal, but it will be difficult to do so.
In the meantime, he may get another runout against our rivals the Spuds this Sunday with Kieran Gibbs a doubt after a strong performance at left back against Bayern.
Vermaelen feels there is still plenty to play for this season and feels the team spirit is still strong among the squad despite their fourth consecutive last-16 Champions League exit.
We worked hard as a team and you can’t blame the players. The spirit in the team is very good. To fight really hard was the only thing we could do.
In the end, 1-1 here is not a bad result but it was not good enough to go through and that is the big disappointment for us.
We believed until the end because we [beat them in Munich] last year and thought we could have done it again but it wasn’t good enough.
The result wasn’t great for us to go through but you always need to take the positives out of it. We worked hard and at the end of the day that is what you need to get results.
We are still up there in the Premier League and we are in the semi-finals of the FA Cup so there is a lot to play for.
Arsenal have a tough set of fixtures on the horizon, so their performance against Bayern bodes well for their upcoming fixtures. If they can replicate the same type of intensity against the Spuds they should come away with all three points.
So much to play for this season and with injuries setting in furiously we need the maximum from every first team player including Tommy Vermaelen.