Arsenal must forget last season says Thomas Vermaelen

Thomas Vermaelen insists Arsenal must forget about their nightmare end to last season if they are to finally deliver a trophy in 2012.

The Belgian centre-back, now recovered from a niggling Achilles problem, watched from the sidelines as the Gunners suffered a cataclysmic collapse on all fronts following defeat to Birmingham in the Carling Cup final.

Manager Arsene Wenger - who is understood to have had an initial £10million bid for Everton defender Phil Jagielka rejected - maintains his young side will grow stronger from those bitter experiences.

Vermaelen believes the disappointments must be put out of the players' minds if they are to end a six-year trophy drought.

"Everybody starts from zero and everybody has to start again," he told www.arsenal.com.

"You get a new chance and that's always a good feeling when people give you another chance to win something. The past is behind us and it's good to look into the future.

"That's what we do now - we start all over again with a new chance and we will go for it this year."

While Wenger maintains the backline is not Arsenal's weakest link, he is expected to bolster the defence before the end of the transfer window.

Jagielka, 28, is a player Wenger tried to land last summer, but faces having to significantly up the ante to test Everton's resolve for the England international, who still has several years of a recent contract extension to run.

Bolton's Gary Cahill, valued at £17m, Blackburn's Christopher Samba, Birmingham centre-back Scott Dann and German international Per Mertesacker, who would probably cost around half that from Werder Bremen, are also on the Arsenal manager's radar.

The future of captain Cesc Fabregas remains uncertain, with Barcelona vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu said to be in London to push through a £35m deal.

The Spain World Cup winner is not expected to be involved in Saturday's pre-season friendly at Cologne, or the German training camp afterwards, as, officially at least, he remains behind to continue rehabilitation from a niggling hamstring problem.

Wenger is understood to be exploring other options, should as expected Fabregas get his wish to return to the Nou Camp.

Samir Nasri has yet to commit himself to a new long-term deal, but with Fabregas' imminent departure, the France midfielder could yet see Arsenal match his inflated wage demands to takeover at the heart of the team.

Valencia admit they could have to let high-rated midfielder Juan Mata go if the money was right.

The 23-year-old is said to have a £20m release clause in his contract and Valencia manager Unai Emery told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope: "Valencia have to be prepared for a footballer having to leave, either because he is not wanted or because a big club wants to sign him.

"We want him to stay and Mata has also expressed his wish to remain at Valencia, but we know that if a big-money offer comes in from any club and it's good for both the player and the club, it could lead to his exit."

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