Reports emerging on the internet suggest that Thomas Vermaelen could be reunited with his former Ajax teammate Jan Vertonghen, who is apparently one of Arsène Wenger’s top January transfer targets as he looks to shore up the Arsenal defence.
It is believed that Wenger will offer Ajax £10 million and either Maroune Chamakh or Sebastian Squillaci in order to tempt the Dutch champions into to letting their captain leave the Amsterdam Arena.
It is known that Vertonghen had previously been monitored by Arsène Wenger, but it is not clear if he is still on our radar. That said, if he is anything near half as good as Vermaelen then surely he is at least worth taking into consideration? We have conceded 21 goals in the opening 10 Premier League games, leaving Wenger extremely worried about our defensive capabilities. Just to put that in perspective, 21 goals is more than Wigan (who are bottom of the table) have conceded this season.
Vertongen is 6″2 and, like Vermaelen, is renowned for his strong aerial ability and even his eye for goal. He is also well-known for being proficient at taking free-kicks, which could always come in useful. Robin van Persie has not been the most reliable from free-kicks in recent seasons (although he did score an absolute screamer against Sunderland a few weeks ago).
In my opinion the advantages of signing Vertonghen are numerous. He has already developed a strong partnership with Vermaelen during their seasons together at Ajax and for the Belgian international team, and would bolster our defence significantly. He is 24 and has enough first-team experience to convince me that he can cope with the Premier League. Having made 99 appearances for Ajax in the last two seasons (scoring 10 goals in the process) it is clear that he does not suffer from any significant injury problems and is more than capable of dealing with playing week-in week-out.
However… We already have 4 very strong centre-backs in the squad. Bearing in mind that Per Mertesacker finally seems to be settling in, Djourou is looking increasingly proficient, and that Laurent Koscielny is improving at an incredible rate, do we really have any need for a new centre-back? Wenger is apparently looking to shore up the defence, but maybe more vigorous defensive training would be a better option?
The next two months will be extremely important. We will have to analyse our defensive a little closer to the new year to know if Wenger really is in the market for a new defender. Until then, we cannot rule it out completely.
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