Serie A side Napoli are reportedly getting ready to step up their interest for Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen.
The Belgian has struggled to break up the partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny this season, which has led to the realistic suggestion that he could leave the Gunners this summer.
Napoli boss Rafa Benitez has seen Vermaelen play first hand and is believed to want his current side to invest in the 28-year-old and buy out the final year of his contract.
If Arsene Wenger is thinking about investing in a new centre back this summer it’s a move which could happen but is there value in the Italian side trying to get a player coming the other way in the same deal?
Here are five Napoli stars Arsenal could demand in any deal for Vermaelen.
A like for like swap with Uvini being a central defender but a long term move for Arsenal.
The 22-year-old Brazilian has made just one Serie A appearance this season under Benitez so the Italian side could be open to letting him go. They also have him tied down on a long term contract which shows they believe he has potential and talent.
A more realistic and immediate option could be Federico Fernandez, a 24-year-old Argentinian defender on a shorter contract than Uvini and more appearances this season; 15 in Serie A, five in the Champions League and three in the Italian Cup.
A left sided winger who only joined the club last summer and a player who could address a problematic area for Arsene Wenger.
Mertens would release someone like Lukas Podolski to focus on a central attacking role and he would also remove the necessity for Wenger to use talented central midfielders such as Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla out on the left hand side.
The problem is he’s only just joined the club and has featured prominently; 21 games, five goals and five assists so far this season.
Inler has been one of Napoli’s most consistent midfielders this season and also one of their more aggressive with an average tackle rate of 3.4 challenges per game on average this season.
He’s a versatile midfield man and could cover for numerous midfielders in the current Arsenal squad.
Arsenal tried to sign the Argentinian striker from Real Madrid last summer but a deal never came about.
His numbers this season have been superb; 12 goals and seven assists in the league but Arsenal could be fighting a lost cause if they go after a swap deal because he recently played down reports suggesting a move away was possible.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald