This summer is looking like been the busiest for Arsenal in recent times both in terms of acquisitions and also exits. For the arrivals, Arsenal have been linked with plethora of high calibre signings; Alder, Williams, Jovetic, Capoue and now Rooney. While Wenger will be looking to ship out the club’s misfits Squilacci, Chamakh, Djourou, Santos, Arshavin, Bendtner and Denilson but beyond those fringe players, there might be one high profile casualty and he is current captain Thomas Vermaelen. The Belgian centre-back has in recent weeks dropped to the bench with Mertesacker and Koscileny preferred at the heart of the defence. Their partnership has done well and with them playing together, Arsenal haven’t conceded more than a goal in a match, a far-cry from the barrage of goals conceded with the former Ajax man in the team.
Reports are rife that Arsenal are looking to move him on in the summer. While I won’t deny the fact that his form has been deplorable all season to say the least but I won’t also want us to judge him based on the “fumblings” of one season, ignoring his exploits of past seasons. At the same time, I am not saying we should sacrifice the new found solidity in the defence just to satisfy a single player.
What then is the solution? I believe Vermaelen can be useful in another capacity. He will fit the defensive midfield role. Vermaelen is a good tackler, likes surging forward and has a venomous shot in his left foot. A defensive midfield role will avail him that opportunity to salvage his Arsenal career. Having a natural central defender playing in a defensive midfield position somehow helps the defence. The team looks like having two lines of defence; one in the defensive midfield while the other is the normal central defence. A center back playing as defensive midfielder will always think and tackle like a centre-back which is a plus to the team.
Whether or not Wenger plans to play him as a defensive midfielder. It shouldn’t stop him from completing the deal for Capoue, he is a natural defensive midfielder. 3 players ( Capoue, Vermaelen and Coquelin) in that role isn’t a luxury. It is blatant necessity considering injuries and the number of competitions we will be vying in.
Diaby cannot be depended on.
A good player doesn’t become bad overnight. Vermaelen deserves a second chance at Arsenal, maybe not at central-defence but defensive midfield will be great. To replace him at centre-back, Wenger should bring in another good center-back that would compete favourably with Mertesacker and Koscielny.