Emirates manager has some thinking to do.
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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has revealed that Thomas Vermaelen has suffered ‘a little setback’ in his rehabilitation.
The Belgian centre-half first picked up an Achilles problem while on international duty at the start of September and has struggled to shake off the ailment ever since.
He has made painfully slow progress in his recovery, with setbacks hindering his progress at regular intervals.
The Gunners had hoped that he would be ready for a first-team return early in 2011, but now accept that will not be the case.
Wenger admits that he is unsure when Vermaelen will be back in contention, with the Frenchman unable to predict when the 25-year-old will be fully fit.
He has received better news on Sebastien Squillaci’s hamstring injury, with the French defender set to be sidelined for between two and three weeks, but the Gunners remain short of options at the heart of their back four and accept that they may be forced to enter the transfer market in an effort to find reinforcements.
“He (Vermaelen) has another check today,” Wenger told Arsenal TV Online on Tuesday.
“He had another setback on Saturday that we are concerned with. We are consulting top specialists around the world. We’ll know more on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately I can’t give you any precise date but I concede that, with this little setback from Thomas, we are in a situation where we will have to look around. (Sky Sports)
Arsene Wenger is frantically looking to bring in fresh defensive options and will have to weigh up the clubs immediate needs with their long term goals. He could opt for one of two options. A quick fix which would not set the club back too much financially or does he opt to spend big and then readjust any previous plans he would have had in relation to his current crop of centre backs.
This would be the purchasing of an older player who is perhaps more likely to be on offer during the usually lean January transfer window. A veteran perhaps who knows how to slot in at short notice. Sol Campbell did of course take up that role last January and some sources have suggested he could do so again but that seems highly unlikely to occur again.
Arsene Wenger does have four first team centre backs to pick from, in an ideal non injury ridden world, and Thomas Vermaelen, Sebastien Squillaci, Laurent Koscielny and Johann Djourou as a quarter offer an interesting, if not spectacular, mixture of youth and experience so in that way the bringing in of a 30+ player on a short team deal would fit in well. The danger of course could be that an older player is more susceptible to knocks and strains and if that occurs then you are right back to square one.
Long Term Buy
Well there have been a number of options on this front whether it’s Bolton’s Gary Cahill, Borussia Dortmund’s Neven Subotic or Werder Bremen’s Per Mertesacker. All of good age and in the £12-20m they will cost a bit to bring in, players are always seemingly more expensive in January as selling club’s know they are being brought in for the here and now.
The problem with bringing in one of these players is that Wenger would essentially be making a rod for his own back. What does he then do when his original four are all fit? Who is shipped out? There is an argument that a club playing on many fronts need many options to pick from but that is something of a misnomer as clearly no one wants to sit out on Premier League action just so they can feel the joy of FA Cup and Carling Cup duty.
Arsene Wenger is clearly someone who doesn’t need my advice on this score and he will look long and hard and may wait until towards the end of the month before jumping the gun. Some reports suggest that Squillaci is not that badly injured and Johann Djourou arguably had his best game in Arsenal colours against Chelsea. So perhaps there is no need to panic and it’s time to wait and see who is available for a reasonable price.
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