Arsene Wenger may have his hand forced if Manchester United or Barcelona bid for want-away defender in the latest Arsenal transfer news.
There are now two clear options for Arsene Wenger to select from with regards to how he handles the Thomas Vermaelen situation.
Considering the Belgian international has refused a recent offer of a contract extension, the French coach can retain his services in the Arsenal roster throughout the upcoming season but face losing the £12.5 million rated centre back next summer akin to the manner in which Bacary Sagna joined Manchester City.
Or Wenger engages Barcelona or Manchester United in transfer discussions with a view to doing a deal over the permanent sale of a player not guaranteed regular football at the Emirates Stadium.
The prospect of Arsenal losing another established player on a free basis may not appeal to supporters - nor the club's upper brass - however, with less than one month in the transfer window, Wenger may feel rushed to find a replacement… one who may not be available in the coming weeks.
If the sale of Vermaelen is ratified then Wenger would have no legitimate cover for primary centre back duo Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. He would therefore be forced into the market but, as has been demonstrated with the apparent pursuit of Sami Khedira, some transfers may take months, rather than days.
On the other hand, a player chasing a summer exit may become severely demotivated and more prone to defensive errors when selected for first-team duty. Keeping hold of Vermaelen, in this sense, could prove costly.
If Vermaelen were sold, Arsenal could step-up their interest in Borussia Dortmund stopper Mats Hummels.
Do you think Wenger should keep Vermaelen?