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If another Arsenal captain leaves, this time it's because he is expendable

Should Arsenal sell or keep Thomas Vermaelen this summer?

You can imagine the headlines if Thomas Vermaelen leaves Arsenal this summer.

'Another captain walks out on Arsenal' will be the general theme, with Van Persie, Fabregas, Gallas, and Henry all quitting the club, four captains in seven years.

Vermaelen is being tipped to move on this summer too, which in theory will be humiliating as it will be perceived as another leader turning his back on the club.

But the sad truth is for the Belgian defender, is that it is not quite that simple.

He was handed the Arsenal captain's armband last summer in the wake of van Persie's departure, in a largely popular move with the club's supporters.

He had enjoyed two excellent seasons, although disrupted by injury, and finished the 2011/12 campaign impressively, scoring six goals in total, although in hindsight a poor defensive show in a defeat to QPR was a sign of things to come.

But not immediately. When 2012/13 kicked off, he helped Arsenal to three clean sheets in succession, and was hailed as part of new coach Steve Bould's magical defensive solution, something which appears to have simply been a mirage.

Fast forward to the present day, and captain Vermaelen is a substitute, finding himself third choice behind Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker.

Frenchman Koscielny was this week talking up the pair's partnership, claiming their communication is the key to their success, and the writing could be on the wall for Vermaelen that a place out of the starting XI could not be so temporary.

Vermaelen is a good defender experiencing a not so satisfactory season, so Arsenal will need to think carefully about discarding him, but if a huge offer came in, it would be worth considering.

He has been linked with Barcelona, like many an Arsenal player in the past, with the club in dire need of defensive reinforcements. 

If Arsenal did cash in, it would be simply because they could afford to, and replace him with another talented defender available at half the price.

For once, they hold the cards, and can drive his price up as much as possible, and if no takers, simply keep him. If there are, then he left because they were happy for him to move on.

What do you think Arsenal should do with Vermaelen this summer?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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