The rumour is that another Arsenal captain could just be on his way out of the club. And the link is not just to any other club, but Manchester United who already has in it ranks Robin Van Persie. Although the talk was strictly a straight swoop for the Arsenal captain, there is speculation that Arsenal could demand Nani as part of any deal that would take Thomas Vermaelen to Old Trafford.
Firstly, in the normal scheme of things, no club would countenance selling it captain to a main rival who just lifted it first trophy after nine years even though he was a non playing captain in that match at Wembley. To me, this rumour is unlikely to see the light of the day. This is especially true if you think of the fact that there is already a former Arsenal captain at the club he is being linked to. But in football, there are always scenarios that change the equation of things whereby the unimagined becomes a possibility as was the case when Robin Van Persie crossed over to Manchester United and Cesc Fabregas joining Chelsea last week. Which brings to two the number of former Arsenal captains playing for other clubs in the Premier League. And if the Thomas Vermaelen rumours becomes reality, that number will rise to three.
But looking at the Nani angle to the equation if he were to come as part of a possible transfer. That Nani is a tricky winger is much known and that he has been inconsistent over the years apart from his early seasons at Old Trafford is well established. Added to that, he has spent more time on the injury table over the past few seasons, particularly last season where he was out most of the time with one injury to the other. Arsenal already possesses an array of players who are injury prone, adding Nani to that list would not be a wise decision. His tendency to be anonymous in matches is another aspect of his game that is obvious. Although on his day he can be unplayable bringing directness to a team’s attack, but such moments have been few and far between in the past seasons. And the fact that he signed a new long term contract last season means his wages could also play a part in the outcome of any possible transfer.
Arsene Wenger made a statement last summer that every player under contract will need the permission of the club to leave, obviously as a result of Thomas Vermaelen’s lack of playing time, he might want to leave and true to that there are already speculations to that effect. Yet it will be on the wrong side of history if Arsenal were to demand Nani as part of any transfer that might involve the Arsenal captain. The last deal that went that way did not particularly favour Arsenal in long run which meant that an important position in the team was not adequately addressed.
In the last hours of the 2006 summer transfer window, William Gallas moved to North London as part of the deal that took Ashely Cole to Chelsea in a 5 million pounds deal. It meant that Arsenal got a defender who was similar to Kolo Toure at the time and the departure of Sol Campbell was not adequately addressed.
Whatever comes out of the speculation surrounding Thomas Vermaelen, Arsenal should not consider any exchange deal as part of any transfer and the idea of selling to a rival should not be entertained.