Arsenal Transfer News: Gunners Must Hang on to Thomas Vermaelen

Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2014

Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen looks to his right as he watches his teammates during their English League Cup soccer match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates stadium in London Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Despite being very much on the fringes of Arsenal's first team, club captain Thomas Vermaelen will be subject to a big money bid from Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg, per Alex Richards of The Daily Mirror.

Richards reports:

Spalletti has reportedly instructed the Zenit hierarchy—who recently signed Venezuelan striker Salomon Rondon from rivals Rubin Kazan—to pull out all the stops in a move for Vermaelen.

That could mean that the Gunners are faced with an opening £15million offer for a player who has made just three Premier League starts this term.

Additionally, the offer may well prove tempting to the player himself.

His wage demands won't be a problem to Zenit, who will also be able to offer him regular first-team action in the lead up to the World Cup, where Vermaelen faces a battle to be in Marc Wilmots' starting line-up.

The Mail Online have also tweeted about Vermaelen's possible departure:

The Belgium centre-back has been down the pecking order under Arsene Wenger for some time, appearing in less than half the matches in the Premier League when compared to Per Mertesacker or Laurent Koscielny, per Squawka.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24:  Dejected Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker of Arsenal applaud the fans after a draw in the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Villa Park on November 24, 2012 in Birmingham, England.  (P
Julian Finney/Getty Images

However, losing an international defender now would damage Wenger's squad considerably. 

The Russian transfer window does not close until February 25, meaning the Gunners could be depleted just at the point in the season where they will need maximum coverage.

Bogdan Maran/Associated Press

You could not blame Vermaelen if he choose to leave north London. The World Cup comes once only every four years, and at 28 years of age the player might feel this is his last chance to play on the biggest international stage. 

Belgium have a good chance of doing well in Brazil, and the Arsenal skipper will crave to be part of any success they might have. 

The player's chances have been limited for some time at the Emirates, and his manager has not rotated him back into the first team on that many occasions. 

However, with the English transfer window now closed until the summer it will be a huge gamble for Arsenal to accept any offer for the player, especially if they have true aspirations of lifting the Premier League trophy once again. 

Wenger was looking for midfield coverage in this previous window but it will come as a huge shock to him if he suddenly loses a very important squad member in his defence.