Arsenal ready swoop for Vermaelen replacement as Wenger steps up interest

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Arsenal are prepared to dip into the loan market in order to plug a hole in their injury-ravaged defence.

The north London club have been hit my the long-term absence of Thomas Vermaelen, who continues to be plagued by injury, as well as ailments to a number of other senior defenders.

Now Arsene Wenger is ready to sign a short-term replacement for the Belgian and is likely to add to his defensive ranks before the end of the week.

"[A loan] would be the best solution for us because what do you do with five centre-backs?" Wenger told the official Arsenal website.

Arsenal are expected to bring in at least one centre-back during the transfer window after injury to Sebastien Squillaci left them with just two fit recognised stoppers in Laurent Koscielny and Johan Djourou.

Vermaelen's Achilles problem also continues to frustrate Arsenal, and Wenger admits that he is worryingly short on centre-halfs.

"It is a worry as long as [Sebastien] Squillaci is out, I must say, as we are short, but we have other resources," said the Arsenal boss.

"If the worst came to the worst, [Abou] Diaby is coming back so if we have to put [Alex] Song back we have Diaby coming back to play in midfield."

Arsenal have been linked with moves for former Gunners' favourite Sol Campbell and Aston Villa's Richard Dunne in their pursuit of defensive reinforcements.

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