Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen has hinted for the first time that he could leave the Emirates Stadium.

The Belgium international lost his place in the Gunners' starting line-up last season following a dip in form, with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger preferring a centre-back partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.

Vermaelen has continued to find himself on the bench this season - and the Belgian now admits he will consider leaving in January if the situation continues in order to boost his chances of going to next summer's World Cup finals in Brazil.

"I'll have to think about that when it's necessary," he told the Daily Mail. "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."

Vermaelen has featured in just one Premier League match for the Gunners this season - as a substitute against Sunderland - while his only other appearance came in the Capital One Cup.

He was also left out of Belgium's starting line-up for last Friday's crucial 2014 World Cup qualifier against Croatia.

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