For Arsenal, it has been quite a different summer in that the club has spent the most in a transfer window. The introductions of David Ospina, Callum Chambers, Mathieu Debuchy and Alexis Sanchez make Arsenal look strong contenders for the title this season.
The club have not yet let anyone leave the club who has had some impact apart from Bacary Sagna. For years before the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie have been sold; players who were key in Arsenal's team and moulded the season with their terrific inputs. These were not just normal sales however; all these players mentioned and a whole list of others have joined rival clubs both directly from Arsenal. Manchester City have taken their fair share of players with Gael Clichy, Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure joining them from the north London club.
And with all the hype due to these four new signings, there has to be a dark side somewhere and this year for the Gunners, its that their captain is hinting a move away from the club. Thomas Vermaelen is this year's key Arsenal player attracting rumours that he is leaving the club. The Belgian international has previously stated that he is unhappy about not being a starter. Although it is hard to get into the team when a very consistent partnership lies at the back in Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. Vermaelen had the pleasure of lifting Arsenal's first trophy for eight and a half years but it seems as though this wasn't enough to keep him at the Emirates.
Vermaelen has caught the eye of a number of clubs including Napoli, AC Milan, AS Monaco and Barcelona. All these clubs would offer Vermaelen first team football so that factor may persuade him. The only good news out of the move is that any of these clubs are outside of the Premier League so a sale wont be to a direct rival.
Having said that, recent reports suggest that Manchester United are looking at his signature. This move would see Vermaelen starting at Old Trafford week in week out which matches his demands. United have the funds to outbid other clubs like Napoli and so far Van Gaal has shown that any targets he wants, he gets with the signings of Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera.
If the sale of Vermaelen does go through, the Gunners would have to bring in an experienced centre back to be back up for defensive injuries or suspensions; and already there have been rumours linking Arsenal to possible centre backs.
Ron Vlaar made a good impression at this year's World Cup in Brazil. The Netherlands international had an impressive tackling success rate and battles won in the air. Aston Villa would want to hold onto Vlaar however they may be willing to let him go for a fixed price.
Villa do have a ready replacement in Jores Okore but he doesn't carry the experience that Vlaar does. £10 million would be the absolute maximum and Villa would be happy if this was the fee, but Wenger may look to get him for less. Vlaar would provide good defensive back up and is a very capable replacement for Vermaelen.
Another capable replacement for Vermaelen is the England international Phil Jones. The Englishmen is reasonably underrated and at his age, still has a lot to experience. Again he would find it hard to break the golden partnership at the back between Koscielny and Mertesacker but Jones is certainty a good defender even if it is just cover.
Instead of Arsenal forking out money for another British player to add to their core, reports entice that a direct switch deal would be made with Vermaelen going the other way. Calum Chambers has shown in the Emirates Cup that he can play well at the central defensive role but Jones would add depth to the squad and bringing in a defined centre half may be the wiser option.
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