Arsene Wenger claims Barcelona target will stay at Arsenal

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists Thomas Vermaelen's future remains in north London, despite reported interest from the likes of Manchester City and Barcelona, reports talkSPORT.

The 27-year-old defender has fallen down the first-team pecking order, and hasn't featured for the Gunners since their north London derby defeat against Tottenham Hotspur last month. 

Wenger has opted instead to pair Per Mertesacker with Laurent Koscielny at the heart of his defence for the past few games, forcing Arsenal's club captain to endure a spell on the sidelines.

The French tactician praised Vermaelen's response since being dropped, and reiterated his belief that the Belgian remains happy at the Emirates Stadium, and is not thinking about leaving.

"I see Vermaelen's future here at Arsenal," he said in Friday's press conference, ahead of tomorrow's Premier League clash with Norwich City. "You sometimes gain more respect when you are not playing and his attitude has been fantastic."

Barcelona are in the market for a long-term replacement for Carles Puyol and are believed to have identified Vermaelen as a possible centre-back successor at Camp Nou.

Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City have also been credited with an interest in the former Ajax star - the latest Arsenal player that could swap north London for the Etihad Stadium, following in the footsteps of Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri, who all opted to link up with Roberto Mancini.


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Thomas Vermaelen
Premier League

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