Arsenal skipper, Thomas Vermaelen, has been ruled out for all of the teams preseason tour in Asia and will miss the beginning of the The Gunners Premier League and Champions League campaigns. Vermaelen aggravated a chronic back problem while on international duty with the Belgian national side and was unable to even travel to Asia, with the rest of his team. Could this injury force Wenger to sign another centre back?
Even though he is the team captain, Vermaelen hasn’t been a first choice centre back since he was dropped back in March in favour of Laurent Koscielny. The stats show a dip in the captain’s performances over the years. Arsenal were already short at the back with only three first team centre backs and this injury could force Wenger into buying another centre back. The other problem facing Wenger is that, Koscielny will be suspended for the first leg of Arsenal’s qualifiers to get into the Champions League leaving Per Mertesacker as the only available first choice centre back. With those problems facing him, Arsene Wenger will probably need to go out and buy another centre back, which he was already looking into doing. Two people Wenger has targeted are Swansea’s Ashley Williams and Freiburg’s Matthias Ginter.
Ashley Williams has been heavily linked to the gunners for a couple months now but his price tag has been the main stumbling block in the negotiations. Williams would be a very atypical signing for Wenger, who is known for being cheap and signing young players, as Williams looks like he would cost £10m and will already be 29 years of age in August. Williams signed with Swansea in 2008 when he made a loan move from Stockport County permanent. Since signing for the Swans, Williams has made 231 first team appearances and has helped Swansea climb from League One to the championship and now to the Premier League. Williams is the current captain of Swansea as well as the Welsh national team, where he was appointed captain in October of last year, replacing current gunner Aaron Ramsey.
Matthias Ginter has also been linked with a move to the Emirates for a couple of months now. Ginter is a young prospect with a lot of potential and is somewhat unknown, if he was French he would be the definition of a Wenger signing. Ginter has been plying his trait at German club Freiburg with the first team since early 2012 and joined the academy in 2005. Arsenal just loaned young defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin to Freiburg and some are speculating that the loan move could help this Ginter move go through. Ginter has made 26 Bundesliga appearances for Frieburg as well as making three appearances for Germany’s u-21s.
Vermaelen’s injury could end up being a blessing in disguise as Arsenal were already short at the back and this should all but force Wenger to spend some of his rumoured £70m war chest. Arsenal will need to have not only a solid defence but a deep defence if they are to push for a title, like they say they want to, and end their eight year trophy drought.
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