Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen has hit out at players who left the club during their recent difficult period.
Midfielders Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri exited the Emirates in the summer transfer window to Barcelona and Manchester City respectively after it became apparent the club could not afford to reject sizeable bids for their two stars.
The Belgium international has criticised this attitude, stating his belief that players should stay and fight instead of seeking a new club.
He told The Express: “People always think that when times are difficult it will be better if they go to another club. But when it's tough, it doesn't mean you have to quit. You have to fight for it.
“You can always go somewhere else but it doesn’t mean that somewhere else is better. Arsenal is a really nice club and I feel at home here. The board, the boss and the fans give me a lot of belief. Why should I leave?"
The 26-year-old went on to express his delight at his recent contract extension and insisted the Gunners could challenge at the top of the Premier League.
“I think we can challenge the other clubs in England, like Manchester City and Manchester United,” he continued.
“We had to look out ourselves when our start to this season wasn’t perfect. We had to fight for every point and we did that. I believe we can now grow and get better and better.
“I think the structure of the club is really good and I believe in the club. That’s why I have signed a new contract with Arsenal.”