Five replacements for reportedly Barca-bound Vermaelen - featuring Man City outcast

Thomas Vermaelen Pre FA Cup Press Conference

Arsenal are reportedly set to sanction Thomas Vermaelen's move from the Emirates Stadium to Barcelona.

The Belgian international, 28, has found himself relegated to third choice centre back in North London of late, with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger clearly preferring to use Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker in the heart of his defence. Despite some sporadic appearances at left back last season, it's no surprise to see Vermaelen linked with moves away from the club.

Manchester United had wanted to sign the former Ajax man, but with Wenger unwilling to sell to a rival - unsurprisingly after the uproar that followed Robin van Persie's move to Old Trafford two years ago - and it now seems that Barcelona will be the team signing Vermaelen. Arsenal would therefore need to sign a replacement, and here are five possible replacements for Vermaelen, with the impetus being on youth so players can grow behind Koscielny and Mertesacker.

Toby Alderweireld

Alderweireld, a fellow Belgian international and ex-Ajax centre back, had a tough season at Atletico Madrid, struggling to get consistent first team football. However, neither Koscielny not Mertesacker are that good that they'd permanently keep Alderweireld out of the side. Still only 25 and capable of playing in a number of positions, Alderweireld would be a sensible replacement.

Aleksandar Dragovic

Often linked with Arsenal whilst playing for Basel, Austrian international Dragovic has continued to impress in Ukraine with Dynamo Kiev. Now a target for many of the top clubs, Wenger could certainly rekindle his interest in the 23-year-old, who can also play in defensive midfield - another position that Arsenal are also looking to strengthen.

Kostas Manolas

Linked with a move to Arsenal last month as a direct replacement for Vermaelen, Greek World Cup star Manolas has been a key player for Olympiacos since his 2012 move from AEK Athens. His aforementioned displays at the World Cup have tongues wagging about the 23-year-old's potential, and whilst he's not the biggest or fastest defender around, he showed an impressive reading of the game in Brazil.

Matija Nastasic

A deal between Arsenal and Manchester City could be difficult to broker, but Nastasic's development is seriously stalling at the Etihad Stadium. The Serbian is now behind Martin Demichelis and Vincent Kompany in the pecking order, and with Porto's Eliaquim Mangala seemingly on the way too, Arsenal could land themselves a steal with Nastasic. The 21-year-old would cost around £16m, but he has bags of potential to be a future star.

Fabian Schar

22-year-old Schar burst onto the scene after a string of impressive Champions League displays for Basel last season, and his stock continues to grow amidst interest from a whole host of top European sides. Schar is the perfect type of centre back to sit and learn behind Koscielny and Mertesacker for a while before coming in and proving that he can compete at the top level on a regular basis.

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