Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger stated that Thomas Vermaelen will remain the club captain despite there being doubts about him being fit for the start of the new Premier League season as well as his ability to force himself back into the starting berth. The Belgian international has long been dogged by fitness issues and his recent injury woe has kept him out of the club’s pre-season tour of the Far East.
But according to Wenger, the defender is still central to his plans and will remain the club’s captain. The Arsenal manager dropped the centre back for the club’s UEFA Champions League win against Bayern Munich in Germany in March and the defender found him on the fringes of the action since then. He was left on the bench for the final ten Premier League matches of the club as the manager preferred the partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny at the heart of the defense.
Only once when the German international Mertesacker was serving a suspension did Thomas Vermaelen did start in a home win against minnows Norwich City. Wenger admitted that the injury issues might force the player to miss the start of the new season amidst question marks over the future of the 27 year old at the club. Reports from Spain have suggested Barcelona has shortlisted the defender as a target to cover the ageing Carles Puyol. The Belgian international will also be worried by the fact that Arsenal is chasing Swansea City defender Ashley Williams.
And for Thomas Vermaelen, the next season being a World Cup year, he knows that he needs to play regularly if he wants to board the flight to Rio with Belgium who are looking good to qualify. But Wenger has reiterated that the media should not read too much into the player’s absence from the tour.