Bad news for Vermaelen: How the Belgian press reported Mertesacker's extension

Per Mertesacker signed a contract extension at Arsenal yesterday, does it spell the end for Thomas Vermaelen's time at the club?

Per Mertesacker put pen to paper on a new contract yesterday, a two-year extension which will take him up until 2017.

The way he has performed over the past two seasons ensures that the deal is more than merited. The German recovered from a shaky start and injury hit first campaign to prove himself as undroppable in central defence.

Likewise his defensive partner Laurent Koscielny, as the duo have set about forging one of the most difficult to breach backline's in the league, providing a solid base for the club's strong start to the season.

So much so that club captain Thomas Vermaelen can barely get a look in, only featuring when one is ill or injured - and that hasn't been very often.

The defender's future at the club has come under scrutiny as a result, he has started just three Premier League games all season long.

As a result, the news of Mertesacker's new deal has seemingly spelled the beginning of the end for Vermaelen, at least that's the view in his native Belgium.

Newspaper Nieuwsblade ran the headline 'Bad News for Vermaelen, Mertesacker longer at Arsenal', while Belgian journalist Bert Lague instantly suggested this is the news which pushes Vermaelen closer to the exit door.

In truth, Mertesacker's extension is not that big a surprise, for it was never really on the cards that he would leave anyway, and a renewal of his contract was always likely at some stage of it's expiration date in 2015. If Vermaelen was banking on him leaving, he was sorely mistaken.

Likewise Koscielny, who is now even more likely to prolong his stay given his partnership with the German, leaving Vermaelen out in the cold.

The Belgian has been linked to both Inter Milan and Napoli in recent months, while a possible switch to Barcelona to replace Carles Puyol is not implausible either.

It is likely to mean Arsenal needing to divert some of their transfer funds away from the attack this summer to sign a centre-back, one who won't mind being back-up at first to Mertesacker and Koscielny, but to expect the Belgian to do so for another year is probably asking too much of his patience.

image: © wonker

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