Arsenal and Everton are locked in an intense battle for fourth place in the Premier League, a crucial step in qualifying for the most high-profile club competition around; the Champions League.
Whatever the outcome, these clubs could do a bit of business together with rumours Gunners’ captain Thomas Vermaelen will leave once final positions are settled.
The Belgian centre-back is too good a player to be on the bench and Everton could do with another solid defender as Sylvain Distin is 36. Distin’s experience is vital in a fairly young side and his 439 Premier League appearances at four clubs will help teenager John Stones develop.
Toffees captain Phil Jagielka has established himself as Gary Cahill’s partner for the World Cup and the former Sheffield United player has been the subject of interest from Arsene Wenger in previous seasons.
However, these bids were rejected and Jagielka gladly committed his future to the Merseysiders in 2013, but improvements are still needed if Roberto Martinez wants a top-four finish.
Vermaelen meets the criteria of achieving this aim. He has had five years in England’s top tier, played Champions League football and is just 27 so is at his peak.
For a defender he possesses great acceleration and is extremely athletic in the air, meaning he has been able to dominate target men such as Kevin Davies in the past.
Once Arsenal’s most consistent member of their back-line, a below-par 2012/13 season means Vermaelen has made just five league appearances from the beginning this term.
Per Mertersacker and Laurent Koscielny, aside from 12.45 kick-offs, have formed a solid partnership while their club captain watches from the sideline.
Unless Arsenal want to sell Vermaelen abroad, or even persuade the wantaway defender to stay, then he could well move from the Emirates to Goodison Park.
Whether Martinez gets Everton to the Champions League season remains to be seen. His predecessor David Moyes led them to fourth in 2004/05, but they lost to a strong Villarreal outfit in the final qualifying stage.
Vermaelen’s experience and expertise would serve Everton well in Europe.
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