When things start going well for Arsenal you know that you've got to worry. Yet at the moment, just one thing sits in the back of Wenger's genius brain.
Top of the Barclays Premier League table. Top of Group F in the Champions League Group Stage, the Gunners are brilliant. Aaron Ramsey is on fire, Mesut Ozil has actually made it and Olivier Giroud is looking like he may score 20+ goals.
And wait. Is that a smile I see on Arsene Wenger's face?
Amongst this joy though, sits a rather awkward situation, with Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen, who has hinted that he may seek a move away from the Emirates Stadium if first-team opportunities remain hard to come by.
Vermaelen’s view won’t come as a shock to anyone who’s paid attention to his career of late.
Arriving in North London in 2009, Vermaelen needed little time to settle in scoring an incredible seven league goals in 33 matches while leading the Gunners to a third place finish. After an achilles injury shortened his sophomore season, the centre-back returned in 2011-12 to impress once again, scoring six goals in 29 matches to help Arsenal finish third.
When Robin van Persie jumped ship to move to Old Trafford in the summer of 2012, Arsene Wenger showed faith and handed Vermaelen the captain’s armband. It was deserved and expected.
What wasn’t expected was the turn in form that Vermaelen’s play would take, what goes up must come down though, and his form went to rock bottom, with terrible performances against both Liverpool and Manchester City.
This season fellow defenders Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker have been in outstanding form, leaving Vermaelen on the fringes of the squad, with only 114 minutes of Premier League time to his name before the Manchester City match.
With the World Cup fast approaching and stiff competition in Belgium’s starting lineup – Vincent Kompany starts usually for Manchester City, Jan Vertonghen for Tottenham and Daniel van Buyten for Bayern Munich. Vermaelen needs to prove himself, quickly.
But where will the opportunities come from, not Arsenal definitely? Even when Mertesacker was absent against Sunderland Wenger chose to start Bacary Sagna as a centre-back and Carl Jenkinson as a right-back instead of utilising Vermaelen.
So will Arsenal sell the Belgian this January?
Do so and they’ll need to find cover, with a relatively small squad with a notable injury history and long-shot hopes of making a Premier League title run, Arsenal require depth. But Wenger is a business man who doesn't get his cheque book out easily and slow to move when it comes to the transfer market.
Expecting him to take a loss on Vermaelen and also find a player he believes in enough to purchase could be asking a lot.
Failing to sell Vermaelen, however, could be a big mistake for both parties. Wenger should be well aware, having your captain buried on your bench does a club no favours. And Vermaelen won't be happy on the fringes of the Arsenal squad for the rest of his career.
Perhaps, Laurent Koscielny's injury will hand him his chance, but it is likely to be only temporary.
Decisions will need to be made to save the season!
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