Arsene Wenger has dismissed suggestions that Thomas Vermaelen could leave this summer despite the player being benched in recent weeks and speculation linking him with an exit.
Vermaelen, who will return to Arsenal’s starting lineup this weekend in place of the suspended Per Mertesacker, has not started a game since Arsenal’s defeat to Spurs at the beginning of March leading certain slack-jawed hacks in the nation’s grubbier publications to moot a move to Barcelona.
However, underlining that the Belgian international has a long-term contract, signed in October 2011, the boss again reiterated that not playing every week is a fact of life at a football club where there is competition for places.
“Yes, of course [he stays],” Wenger told press ahead of Saturday’s game with Norwich.
“He has a long-term contract. He is our captain and periods where you don’t play can happen. That’s part of our job, to be in competition or not.”
One man who won’t be sporting the red and white next season is Andrei Arshavin. Out of contract at the end of the season, the boss admitted that the tubby Russian will leave the Emirates in the summer although he did reserve praise for the winger’s professionalism during his stint on the sidelines.
“His contract ends at the end of the season and then he will decide what to do,” said Wenger. “I don’t think he will stay here because he doesn’t play enough.”
“I must say that publicly I would like to give him credit, because he is working absolutely every session at 100 per cent commitment.
“He is an example to everybody, because he has been questioned about his commitment many times. If you saw him every day you would respect him for what he is doing on a daily basis. It is absolutely fantastic.”
Arseblog News is amused to learn that commitment to cake eating is something that Wenger admires. We’re off to la patisserie to stock up…