Date: 31st July 2014 at 5:14pm
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Club captain Thomas Vermaelen looks set to have showdown talks with Arsene Wenger regarding his future at the club, according to the Daily Mail.

The Belgian didn’t fly out to Austria with the first-team squad, fuelling further rumours of his impending exit when in fact a knee injury, picked up on World Cup duty, meant that the Gunners’ boss preferred instead for him to be treated at home.

Both Barcelona and Manchester United are thought to be keen on acquiring Vermaelen’s services, which could come at a cut-down price considering the duration left on his contract.

The skipper has had to face the ignominy over the past 18 months of featuring more often than not as a late substitute. The form of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker have resulted in his position at the club becoming increasingly untenable, with his embarrassment being compounded when required to lift the FA Cup, having played a minimal part in the competition.

Vermaelen’s fall from grace – from one of the Premier League’s top defenders to bit-part player – is one of mild sadness. As injuries have forced him into prolonged spells off the field, his form – and subsequently his reputation – have taken a hit which looks to be terminal for his Arsenal career.

Still, regardless of his dip in form, the Belgian remains one of the most reliable back-up choices at centre-half in the country, and whichever club he ends up at will be better off for his presence. Let’s hope it’s us, and not a certain club in Manchester.