It's looking more and more likely that Vermaelen has one season at best left to serve at Arsenal having announced today that he is ‘unwilling’ to agree a new deal with boss Arsene Wenger. Arsenal will need to ship their third-choice centre-back in this transfer window or potentially have to give the player away for nothing next Summer. Arsenal and Barcelona are both understood to be interested in the Arsenal captain.
As for replacements it seems Spanish newspaper AS have stated that Arsenal are keen on the Real Madrid full-back Alvaro Arbeloa via the Mirror. AS state that the former-Liverpool player has been told he is free to leave the club and could be excellent value for the reportedly outgoing Vermaelen with no fee reported.
The 31-year-old defender last played in the Premier League in 2009 when he moved to Real after 66 appearances for Liverpool. Since joining Real he has gone on to make 125 appearances for the European champions so would bring bags of experience if limited shelf-life. The defender made 30 appearances for Real in the 2013-2014 season and has a contract that extends his stay at the Bernabeu until June 2016 should he not move on.
Arbeloa’s two seasons in the Premier League, his versatility and 6ft frame would certainly be of interest to Wenger if he is looking for a short-term utility player who could be employed to fill a variety of roles.