Vermaelen determined to leave Arsenal before start of Premier League season


Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen has told manager Arsene Wenger that he wants to leave the club before the new Premier League season begins.

The 28-year-old has been the subject of speculation all summer with the Belgian international defender entering the final year of his contract at Emirates Stadium.

Manchester United and Barcelona have both shown serious interest in the centre-back, but it is the latter who Arsenal are more ‘open’ to doing business with.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger believes that selling one of his best defenders to a Premier League rival could come back to bite him and Catalan giants Barca would prove less of a ‘risky’ deal.

Wenger has confirmed in the past week that Vermaelen is unlikely to stay in north London as he could not guarantee him first-team football and the player himself has expressed a desire to leave before the new Premier League season begins in a fortnight’s time.

Vermaelen, who joined Arsenal from Ajax in 2009, started just seven Premier League games last season with Wenger preferring the successful centre-back pairing of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker instead.

The £10m-rated defender’s likely departure means that Arsenal are on the look out for a stopper who is also able to play in defensive midfield.

William Carvalho and Sami Khedira remain the prime targets for French tactician Wenger.

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