The Daily Mail reported yesterday that Zenit St Petersburg are targeting experienced Arsenal central defender Thomas Vermaelen.
With the Russian transfer window open for just over another three weeks, the Gunners are reportedly staring at the chance they could lose their club captain and one of their best defensive options.
The theory behind the interest is that Zenit feel they can offer Vermaelen more regular football over the rest of the season, which he could find appealing ahead of the World Cup.
However, worry not Arsenal fans because there are several reasons why a move is unlikely.
Arsenal currently have injuries to six key members of the first team and while none of them are in the back four, should Per Mertesacker or Laurent Koscielny pick up a problem, Arsene Wenger won’t have cover if he allows Vermaelen to leave.
Wenger himself has given no indication that he wants to or is ready to axe Vermaelen.
Just last month the French coach suggested that he planned to sit down and talk with Vermaelen at the end of the season over a new deal, which would tie him down to the club.
That suggests Wenger is planning to use the 28-year-old over the rest of the season, providing him with that chance to prove himself over the second half of the campaign, as he looks to get into the Belgian national side for the summer.
Vermaelen’s exclusion from the Arsenal team this season is nothing to do with a dip in quality, it’s a simple result of the productive relationship which has been forged by Mertesacker and Koscielny.
The Belgian has a very good chance of silverware this season with Arsenal in the Premier League and the challenge of facing up to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Wenger recognises his quality and wants to reward him for his service with a new contract. The only thing which could change everything is if Zenit make an unbelievable offer which is too good for Arsenal to turn down, similarly to the offer Chelsea accepted from Manchester United for Juan Mata.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald