Serie A giants Napoli are pondering a move for Thomas Vermaelen after holding talks with the Arsenal captain's agent, according to Goal.com.
Those aforementioned reports suggest that Alex Kroes has discussed a potential transfer with the club and that Rafael Benitez is a huge admirer of the Belgian international as he seeks to improve his defensive options in order to mount a challenge for domestic glory next season.
28-year-old Vermaelen joined Arsenal from Eredivisie side Ajax in 2009 and became somewhat of an influential figure in the heart of Arsene Wenger's backline at the Emirates Stadium.
However, he has found first-team opportunities increasingly difficult to come by of late, with Wenger preferring a centre-back pairing including French international Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker for the majority of the season.
As a result, Vermaelen has made just seven appearances in the Premier League during the 2013/14 campaign, the last coming in a very brief substitute cameo against strugglers Cardiff City on New Year's Day.
Vermaelen's lack of action has seen him linked with a move away from Arsenal, with Inter Milan linked with an £8 million move for his signature during the recent January transfer window.
Walter Mazzari's side have continued to be linked with the player following the close of the window, however, with reports suggesting that they could rekindle their pursuit if they are unable to sign Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic.
Russian Premier League side Zenit have also been mentioned in conjunction with Vermaelen, but it now appears as if Napoli - who currently sit third in Serie A, 13 points adrift of leaders Juventus - could have become the frontrunners.