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Arsenal transfer news: Wenger opens lid on Vermaelen exit, hints at new signing

All the morning news, views and transfer rumours from the Emirates Stadium...

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has explained the departure of Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona.

The Belgium international defender completed his move to the Spanish giants from the Gunners for a reported transfer fee of £15 million at the weekend (click here to read more).

The 28-year-old joined Arsenal from Ajax in the summer of 2009 and was a key player for Wenger’s team, but the centre-back lost his place in the starting line-up last season.

Wenger has now explained his decision to allow Vermaelen to leave the North London club.

‘I allowed Thomas Vermaelen to leave before the end of the season because he was not playing regularly, he behaved outstandingly the whole season with dignity’, the Frenchman told reporters on Sunday.

‘It's difficult to maintain that kind of player at the top level if he doesn't play regularly. I'm quite grateful and wish him very well because his behaviour was outstanding even if he didn't play’.

Wenger also hinted that he could sign a replacement for his departed captain, although he was quick to point out that summer signing Calum Chambers could slot in for the veteran defender.

‘What it does in my head is [make me think that] Chambers is among the best three and if I can find another one I will do it’, said the 64-year-old former AS Monaco boss.

‘But to find another one of that quality will not be easy because... Vermaelen left us and had the choice between two massive clubs. That means these clubs have looked everywhere as well and that means it's not easy to find’.

Former Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta will be the new Arsenal captain, Wenger confirmed after their 3-0 victory over Manchester City in the FA Community Shield at London’s Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

‘Being captain is a big honour and a privilege, with a big responsibility’, BT Sport quotes the Spaniard as saying. ‘I will try to stand up and do my best for my players. I have done it before last season when Thomas was injured, so I am used to it, now I just have to try make the best of my team-mates, the manager and the club’.

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