Vermaelen delighted as defensive partner Koscielny signs new deal

The former Ajax centre-back has spoken positively of the Gunners' decision to award his French team-mate with a new deal ahead of the side's friendly meeting with Manchester City
Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen has expressed his delight at learning that defensive partner Laurent Koscielny had signed a long-term contract at the club.

Since the Belgium international's return from injury in October, the pair have formed an impressive partnership at the heart of the Gunners' defence.

Speaking ahead of Arsenal's pre-season friendly versus Premier League champions Manchester City on Friday in Beijing, Vermaelen spoke positively of the club's decision to move swiftly in securing the former Lorient man's services for the foreseeable future.

"I heard the news that Laurent extended his contract and I'm really happy," Vermaelen told a press conference in the Chinese capital on Wednesday.

"From the start when he came to Arsenal he has shown he is a great player and he is developing really well. I think he has done everything for the club already and I hope he will stay a few more years.

"Of course he is not here at the moment because he is not fit - he had a holiday because he played in the Euros. But he is a great player and I'm happy that he signed for the club."

Vermaelen featured in the north London side's 2-1 friendly win over Malaysia XI on Tuesday, with Thomas Eisfeld and Chuks Aneke grabbing late strikes to secure victory.