Arsene Wenger will block Thomas Vermaelen’s move to Manchester United, despite the player’s supposed pleas, unless he finds a replacement he deems adequate.
According to information in the Daily Express today the Belgian’s planned move to Old Trafford rests on whether or not Wenger can land Branislav Ivanovic, as the Frenchman wants to ensure he is not left short-staffed at the back with the new season looming large. Following the Gunners’ F.A Cup success last term the long-serving boss is keen to build a side capable of competing for the Premier League title and, having already lost Bacary Sagna to Manchester City, needs to replenish his defensive ranks quickly.
As such he will stand in the way of Vermaelen’s move to United until he is absolutely sure that he no longer needs the 28-year-old, despite reports earlier this week claiming that the Emirates captain has begged him for a move. This season Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny have comfortably kept Vermaelen out of the Arsenal first-team, and he’s naturally keen to move on in order to guarantee himself game time.
Essentially the whole debacle means that Chelsea could have the final say on whether or not Louis van Gaal manages to land one of his top targets this summer, as Ivanovic has been sounded out by Wenger as the ideal replacement. The Serbian international is capable of playing at both right-back and centre-back, meaning that he could replace Sagna whilst also deputising for Mertesacker and Koscielny when needed. However Jose Mourinho rates the 30-year-old highly, and though he may not be considered an integral player to fans, he is held in very high regard at Stamford Bridge.
From the outside looking in it would appear that the Blues would most definitely reject the £7million Arsenal are said to be willing to offer, and so Vermaelen’s move to Manchester may well fall through in its early stages.
As has been touched upon so often in recent weeks, Wenger will be desperate to make some big movements in the transfer market this summer. The acquisition of a world-class striker is practically a must if the Gunners are going to compete on all fronts, but it’s a back line which is fairly light on the ground in terms of numbers that will worry him most. In Sagna and Vermaelen Wenger had two experienced heads who he could rely on last season, but it looks increasingly like he’ll have the benefit of neither in the coming campaign.
This means that it is now imperative that anyone arriving in north London is prepared to be a leader on the pitch. Ivanovic ticks that box, but is a move possible?