Thomas Vermaelen is not yet panicking over his lack of game time for Arsenal, but come January he may be forced to evaluate the situation.
The Belgium international has only just regained full fitness after missing pre-season due to back problems, but is currently Arsenal’s third choice centre back with Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker the established central partnership.
Things are not so straight forward at international level either with the Arsenal captain having to compete with Premier League regulars Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen for a starting spot, so should he not get much of a look in at club level between now and January, he may be forced to reconsider his options in the winter window.
The Daily Mail reported Vermaelen as saying:
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.
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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.
The Verminator has always been a crowd favourite for his physical approach to the game and his attacking prowess. Unfortunately he has failed to replicate the form the demonstrated when he first arrived in north London, however most of his time in England has been disrupted by injuries. Something that is even more frustrating for the Belgian defender is Arsenal’s fantastic run of form coincided with his drop to the bench in favour of Koscielny against Bayern Munich last term, since then he has played very much a bit-part role but remains a vital member of the squad.
Arsenal require at least three top class central defenders for the season (Bacary Sagna provides a fourth alternative) so luckily for Wenger, and unluckily for Vermaelen, injuries have not yet affected the first choice duo of the BFG and Koscielny. This means any second choice combination has not yet been forced into action bar the Capital One Cup match.
Wenger notoriously does not rotate his centre backs unless he has no other choice, so unless injury strikes or poor form affects others it is unlikely Vermaelen will become a Premier League regular this season. He will gain plenty of minutes in the Cup matches however and is a more than capable substitute.
Koscielny has overcome his calf knock to be back in contention for Frances upcoming match this week, whether he comes through that fine is another issue and it could provide Vermaelen an opportunity to start this weekend against Norwich.
Despite becoming Arsenal’s third choice centre-half recently there is still one thing that is for certain, the Gunners cannot afford to lose him in January. And another point to consider is that Vermaelen could still reinstate himself into the Arsenal lineup should the opportunity present itself. When the time comes he must demonstrate the form that he is more than capable of.
What are your thoughts on the Gunners captain? Do you think Wenger should do all he can to retain his services? Comment below..