Arsenal might be set to change their leadership going into the new season as incumbent captain Thomas Vermaelen is set to leave the club this summer. The Belgian has slipped down the pecking order at Arsenal behind preferred centre backs Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny despite been captain. In the course of the summer, reports emerged that Manchester United have signalled an interest in signing him while some other reports went a step further by claiming that the Belgian had already agreed personal terms with the Old Trafford outfit.
Reports also have it that Arsenal have already rejected an offer from Manchester United for the Belgian not because they don’t want to sell as it is increasingly likely that he would not sign an extension to a deal that ends next season and Arsenal wouldn’t want him leaving for free next summer when they can make some money off him this summer.
Why then haven’t they sold him to the Red Devils? According to reports, Wenger has delayed sanctioning the deal because he wants a replacement in place before doing so. If that is true, then, it seems Wenger has learnt his lessons from his past dealings. Selling Van Persie, Nasri, Fabregas, Adebayor and Song without a visible replacement in place.
The latest is that Arsenal and Manchester United are discussing a deal that would involve Chris Smalling switching to Arsenal. If you ask me, that is a very good deal. In Smalling, Arsenal would be getting a like for like replacement for the Belgian. In fact, Smalling is a more versatile player as he can play at the heart of defence and also on the right and left side of defence. Also, Smalling is younger and that means there is still room for improvement for the English defender unlike Vermaelen that seems to have peaked.
I am not surprised that Arsenal is using Manchester United’s interest in Vermaelen to land Smalling. Le Prof has always been a huge fan of the English defender whilst he was at Fulham and he was about bidding for him before Ferguson stole a match on him and landed him. both Vermaelen and Smalling are quite prone to injuries but for a young player like Smalling, he could still get over his injuries and that is unlike Vermaelen.
This is a good time to cash in on Vermaelen. Loosing our captain to domestic rivals could be a painful thing to see but if it leads to us bagging Smalling, the transfer might just be a blessing in disguise.