As if news of Robin van Persie’s imminent exit from the Emirates Stadium wasn’t enough, Thomas Vermaelen could become the latest Arsenal player to head to Barcelona.
Van Persie dropped the bombshell that he would not be extending his Arsenal contract which expires next summer, prompting suggestions that Arsenal will choose to cash in now instead of risking losing him for nothing next year.
But aside from the saga surrounding the Dutch hitman, Arsenal could well be set to lose another of their key players. With Barcelona looking for the long term successor to Carles Puyol, the club have been searching for his eventual replacement. New manager Tito Vilanova is believed to have identified Belgian international Vermaelen as the right man to sign this summer with Puyol recovering from a knee injury.
Barcelona have moved to sign Thierry Henry, Aliaksandr Hleb and Cesc Fabregas from Arsenal in recent years and coupled with the van Persie news, this is likely to infuriate Arsenal fans as the team search for the first trophy in 7 years and selling their prized possessions may give fans the wrong idea about which direction the team is heading.
But Vermaelen’s injury record means that they might well be able to manage without him. Laurent Koscielny improved a lot in his second season in the Premier League and Per Mertesacker is almost back to full fitness.
Whilst it would weaken the team, a big bid for Vermaelen should be seriously considered by Arsenal and Arsene Wenger should be allowed to spend any money they receive on strengthening the squad as they search for silverware. Losing Vermaelen would be a blow but not the end of the world in my opinion – but he should only be sold if Barcelona pay around £15m or more.
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