Thomas Vermaelen admits he’s not sure where his future lies now that he’s turned his attention to domestic matters after a summer on international duty with Belgium.
The Arsenal club captain has been repeatedly linked with a move away from the club having fallen down the centre-back pecking order at the Emirates with the likes of Manchester United and Napoli mooted as possible destinations.
“I really do not know where I will play, Arsenal or elsewhere next season,” he’s quoted as saying by the Evening Standard after his country’s World Cup exit at the hands of Argentina.
“All my attention went to the World Cup. I will see when I talk with Arsenal.”
Much of the link with United appears to stem from an apparent working relationship with Louis van Gaal…odd seeing as Vermaelen’s career in the Eredivisie doesn’t really correspond with the Dutch tactician’s time in Amsterdam.
Van Gaal left his coaching position at Ajax in 1997 and returned only briefly as a technical director in 2004 before quitting later that year after a dispute with Ronald Koeman. While Vermaelen was on the books at the Amsterdam Arena between 2003-2009 he was actually out on loan at RKC Waalwijk between 2004-05 when Van Gaal was around.
Strange how the internet sees misinformation spread like wild fire.
Vermaelen lifted the FA Cup trophy at Wembley in May but only made 13 starts last season as back-up to Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. His playing time frustrations were compounded in Brazil when he was carried off after only 30 minutes against Russia in what proved to be his only appearance at the World Cup.
Injuries certainly haven’t done him any favours but he’s also suffered from playing out of position which in turn has knocked his confidence. A few years ago had you said Vermaelen was likely to depart it would have been met with consternation by much of the fanbase, this summer you can’t help but feel that it might be best for both parties that he find pastures new. Although preferably not to Old Trafford…