Thomas Vermaelen: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger claims he is 'ready' to offer a new contract to the Gunners captain
But the defender has only started three league matches this season
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has claimed that he is "ready" to offer club-captain Thomas Vermaelen a new deal at the end of the season, amid reported interest from West Ham and Napoli.
Vermaelen, whose current deal runs out in the summer, has cut a frustrating figure at the Emirates Stadium due to the flourishing centre-back pairing of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, and has started only three Premier League matches this season. Wenger, though, does not want to lose the Belgian international from his squad.
"I am open to it," the manager told arsenal.com. "I am ready to extend his contract. We want Thomas Vermaelen to be happy and have the number of games a player of his class deserves.
"On my side, I have a high respect for his qualities and attitude and I am ready to extend his contract."
Wenger added: "At the moment we’re all on board for something this season that is respectable. At the end of the season I can sit down with Thomas and see what he thinks about it."
Fellow Gunners' players Tomas Rosicky, Per Mertesacker and Bacary Sagna are also out of contract in the summer, and Wenger revealed that he is closer to extending their contracts, but they are not completed yet.
"That [the new contracts] is very, very, very close," he said. "Not for all of them but for most of them."
Gallery: Could Arsenal bring in any of these strikers in the January window?
Latest in Sport
The muddy truth of the Christmas Truce game
Premier League: Burnley vs Liverpool match preview
Alexis Sanchez video: Turns out the Arsenal forward is brilliant at playing the piano too
Premier League: Chelsea vs West Ham match preview
Sir Alex Ferguson on Jose Mourinho: 'He's good looking, speaks five languages, wins everything - it's unfair'
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Antonio Martin shooting: Mayor says there should be 'no comparison' to Ferguson
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'