Napoli manager Rafa Benitez wants to sign out-of-favour Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen this summer, reports the Daily Mirror.
The Arsenal captain has just over one-year to run on his current contract and is unwilling to sign an extension unless he is guaranteed first team football in the future. Although retaining his captaincy, Vermaelen has been second choice to both Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny for over a year.
Arsene Wenger is keen to retain the services of Vermaelen and is expected to offer him a new deal in the summer, but Napoli are ready to test Arsenal's resolve with a summer bid.
Benitez is trying his best to bridge the gap in Serie A between Napoli and Juventus and has highlighted defensive frailties as their main issue. Vermaelen is seen as the perfect ailment to their problems.
The Serie A outfit are the second major team to consider a bid for the Belgian international in recent weeks with Arsenal's Premier League rivals Manchester United also linked with a move.
David Moyes is currently drawing up a shortlist of potential replacements for Nemanja Vidic and have placed Vermaelen somewhere near the top. However, Wenger is unwilling to part with Vermaelen this summer and will be especially keen to keep him from joining a rival club.
But if Vermaelen refuses to sign a new contract, Arsenal will have to consider cashing in on their star or risk losing him for nothing in the summer of 2015. Vermaelen is also keen to remain in London with the Gunners but will consider leaving if his current situation does not change.
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