Manchester United target Vermaelen could leave Arsenal, says Wenger

The Gunners manager admits that he "cannot guarantee" that his club captain will stay at the Emirates Stadium but intends to sign a replacement should the Belgian be sold
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits that club captain Thomas Vermaelen, a target for Manchester United, could leave this sumer.

The Belgian fell behind Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in the pecking order last term and, as revealed by Goal, the Red Devils are set to increase their offer for the out-of-favour defender after having a £6 million bid rejected.

With the skipper’s future in doubt, the Gunners boss noted that he would look to sign a replacement if necessary.

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"I cannot guarantee [that he will stay],” Wenger told reporters of Vermaelen, “but, should he go, I would bring another centre-back in for sure.”

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho claimed on Thursday that, even though a return to Arsenal could have been on the cards, new Blues signing Cesc Fabregas’s first choice was Stamford Bridge but the Frenchman is not concerned by his comments.

He remarked: “I think people came out and said [Fabregas] wanted to go to Chelsea. I don't know who tells the truth here or not. He landed where he wanted to go.”

Even without former captain Fabregas, Wenger has plenty of midfielders at his disposal and is looking forward to seeing how the competition for places shakes out.

“There's big competition but there are many players with a lot of talent that didn't play many games last year,” he observed.

“[Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain was out for a long time, [Jack] Wilshere was injured and [Abou] Diaby was injured for the whole season. They are back now and it's very difficult to predict how fit they will be at the beginning of the season. There's a big competition in the middle of the park, yes.”

Arsenal’s German contingent – Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski – will return from the World Cup as winners this summer and Wenger expects to reap the benefits.

“What is good is that [Germany] won the World Cup so their confidence should be stronger,” he continued.

“We won the FA Cup with the last game of the season, they went away and won the World Cup. Winning makes you only stronger and more confident and hopefully we will benefit from that in the new season.”