Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen has admitted that he is unsure about whether or not he will be calling the Emirates Stadium home next season, amidst strong rumours he could join Manchester United.
The Belgian defender, who slipped down the pecking order in north London last season thanks to the solid partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, saw his nation crash out of the World Cup at the quarter-final stage last weekend at the hands of Argentina, and insists he has not been considering his future whilst participating in the tournament. The quotes come courtesy of the Evening Standard, and make it clear that while the speculation surrounding a possible move away from Arsenal this summer may have dropped off the radar of late, it’s by no means been put to bed.
The 28-year-old is understandably frustrated at the lack of game-time afforded to him recently, and the fact that he has refused to rule out a departure from Arsenal is all the evidence needed that he is indeed contemplating a move away.
“I really do not know where I will play, Arsenal or elsewhere next season. All my attention went to the World Cup. I will see when I talk with Arsenal,” the Gunners’ club captain said.
It’s no secret that United, now under the stewardship of the highly-lauded Louis van Gaal, have Vermaelen firmly in their sights, and they could definitely offer him the on-pitch minutes he is so obviously craving at this stage of his career. Though the Belgian international would have to sacrifice Champions League football were he to opt for Old Trafford he could increase his weekly salary by as much as £30,000-a-week - United are willing to hand him a contract worth £100,000-a-week - and that may well prove to be a deciding factor.
It’s said that Van Gaal sees Vermaelen as the natural successor to the now departed Rio Ferdinand, and so there’s no questioning the idea that he would be made a senior player in Manchester. That being said the transfer would evoke ire from the Gunners faithful, and with the defender having been a crowd favourite during his time in north London he might not see such a course as a viable option.
As it stands Vermaelen only has two choices on the cards and neither of them can come to fruition before he holds talks with Wenger. On the one hand he could opt to stick around and fight for his old spot in the heart of Arsenal’s defence, though he would surely only do this if they were to offer him a contract significantly more lucrative than his current one.
Then of course he could take Van Gaal up on the Dutchman’s offer of becoming part of United’s revamping project, which at the moment seems the more likely route.
Arsenal fans, how would you react were Vermaelen to join United? Let us know in the comments box below...