Vermaelen may ensure Arsenal lose captain for third straight summer

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Thomas Vermaelen may have made more individual mistakes than any other Premier League defender last season, but there is every reason to believe that he will remain at Arsenal this summer to stay and fight for his place.

The mistakes were one reason why Vermaelen found himself dropped after the 2-1 north London derby defeat to Spurs and in 10 games partnered together over the duration of the campaign, Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny conceded a miserly four goals.

It is likely that this duo will retain their places at the start of the new season, especially with a back injury expected to rule Vermaelen out of the opener at home to Aston Villa, for which Arsenal are 2/5 to collect the three points.

However, Arsene Wenger is sure to want a handful of defenders to challenge for first-team berths and this decreases the likelihood of Vermaelen being allowed to leave.

The Belgian is 2/5 to still be an Arsenal player at the end of the transfer window and there is the belief that the pressure of taking over the captaincy from Robin van Persie may have negatively impacted his performances.

Much will come down to whether Wenger is able to bring in any new defensive faces before September 1st, as these could push the Belgian further down the rearguard order, unless there is any truth in murmurs that he is the answer to their deficiencies in a holding midfield role.

Ashley Williams was one name that was heavily linked earlier this summer, but for all his leadership skills and comfort in possession, a £10m price tag has resulted in all going quiet on the transfer front.

Having a captain that is not a definite starter and a regular bench-warmer is far from ideal for morale and this could be a reason for Vermaelen to decide to move on, while the Gunners are no strangers to seeing their club captains disappear.

Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie have left for pastures new in the last two summers and ironically like Vermaelen at present, both missed pre-season tours with injuries.

If Vermaelen is to leave, Napoli are the heavy favourites to secure his signature at 9/5 and with Rafa Benitez needing more defenders and having a decent pot of money following Edinson Cavani’s switch to PSG, it is probable that an offer will be forthcoming.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.