Arsenal: Bruno Martins Indi Signing Would Spell the End for Thomas Vermaelen
It feels as if the summer transfer window has only just closed. It seems like it was only yesterday that Mesut Ozil made his last-minute move to Arsenal official. However, speculation has already begun to circulate ahead of the January window.
Ozil was the only signing for whom Arsenal paid a significant fee this summer. Therefore, it’s anticipated that they’ll have money to spend when the window reopens. While Arsene Wenger’s most pressing need is for a new centre-forward, Tuesday’s Daily Mail has linked him with a swoop for a centre-half: Feyenoord’s Bruno Martins Indi.
Martins Indi was a reported target for Roberto Martinez’s Everton in the summer, but it seems Arsenal have now moved into the pole position in the race for his signature.
Martinez’s interest tells you everything you need to know about Martins Indi’s technical quality: Martinez’s tactics rely on intelligent, athletic ball-playing centre-halves.
Martins Indi is certainly comfortable on the ball. Despite being born in Portugal, he has been schooled in the Dutch philosophy. That typical Dutch emphasis on technique has transformed Martins Indi in to an all-round defender. His natural physical gifts have been augmented by a thorough technical education.
Martins Indi’s complete game have seen him recognised at international level. At 21, he already has 12 senior caps. Holland are more renowed for producing top-class attackers than defenders, but the early signs are that Martins Indi could be an exception.
Former Arsenal midfielder Giovanni van Bronckhurst ought to know a potential Gunner when he sees one. Speaking to the Mail, he waxed lyrical about Martins Indi’s potential:
He is very good and strong. It is not for nothing he's a first-choice here and with the Dutch national team. He will make the move to a foreign club in the long term.
When the time comes and he wants to leave, he will leave the club. We are very happy with him, but we know we cannot compete with the top European clubs.
Arsenal fans will be delighted to be linked with such a promising defender.
One man who might be alarmed by the rumour is Arsenal skipper Thomas Vermaelen.
The Belgian will note the similarities between his own story and that of Martins Indi. Both players are graduates of the esteemed Dutch academy system (Vermaelen with Ajax). Both players are predominantly left-footed. Both players are athletic without being particularly tall, relying on an impressive sprint and anticipation to outwit bigger attackers. Both players also began their careers as left-backs, with an expectation they would eventually shift over to the centre.
Vermaelen has already lost his first-team place to the pairing of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. With Bacary Sagna also showing a willingness to fill in at centre-back when required, the arrival of Martins Indi could prove to be fatal for Vermaelen’s Arsenal career.
Vermaelen has publicly stated his intention to stay and fight for his place at Arsenal. However, the acquisition of another centre-back would make that fight all the more difficult. Five into two just doesn’t go.
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