Football

Vermaelen left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2014.

Arsenal interested in re-signing Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen

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Amidst all the rumours linking Arsenal with a host of world-class strikers, it seems the Gunners' need for defensive reinforcements has been neflected.

Hector Bellerin, Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny all enjoyed fine campaigns last term but worries remain over Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista.

Indeed, Arsenal fans yearn for Arsene Wenger to make a high-profile addition at centre-back to partner Koscielny.

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And their prayers could soon be answered - well, sort of.

According to Spanish outlet Sport, Arsenal are interested in signing a Barcelona centre-back this summer.

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Is it Gerard Pique? No. Javier Mascherano? Try again.

It is, in fact, former defender Thomas Vermaelen who is linked with a return to the Emirates Stadium, two years on from his departure.

How's that for an anticlimax.

Vermaelen is said to be keen on a return to the Premier League too, with West Ham and Liverpool also reportedly interested in the Belgium international.

Following two trophy-laden yet frustrating seasons for the 30-year-old, it would seem he is ready to swap sunny Spain for regular football elsewhere.

FBL-ESP-LIGABARCELONA-VERMAELEN

The question is: would Arsenal re-signing Vermaelen really be that bad a move?

Fans would have you believe that the answer is, unequivocally, yes, but that might not be the case.

Wenger has always had an eye for a bargain and Vermaelen would almost certainly come cheap. Furthermore, his Premier League experience could prove vital as a third-choice centre-back.

By no means am I suggesting the Belgian should join Arsenal and partner Koscielny, but given how slow Mertesacker is and the many mistakes Gabriel made last season, signing him as a back up might not be a bad idea.

Arsenal v Newcastle United - Premier League

In an ideal world, though, Wenger will reject the chance to sign Vermaelen and splash out on a £30 million-rated centre-half.

Arsenal fans will ultimately be more focused on recent speculation surrounding a new striker arriving in north London.

Gonzalo Higuain now appears to be the Gunners' top target after the Argentine turned down a contract extension at Napoli. Reports also suggest he recently rejected an eye-watering £800,000-per-week contract to join China Hebei Fortune.

Understandably, his £80 million price tag is proving to be an issue, but if Higuain wants out, his Italian employers might be forced into reducing their ludicrous valuation.

Alvaro Morata, Alexandre Lacazette and Romelu Lukaku all continue to be linked, with their £50 million-plus asking prices also a sticking point for Wenger.

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