Transfer news: Arsenal rebuff Napoli inquiry for Thomas Vermaelen

Arsenal captain continues to attract interest but the Premier League leaders are unwilling to sell

Premier League leaders Arsenal have reportedly rejected a preliminary inquiry from Serie A side Napoli,despite the Gunners captain only having three appearances to his name.

The Belgian international has spent most of the season on the bench, following the impervious form of centre-back pair Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, and has only played one minute of Champions League football.

Arsene Wenger's current defensive partnership have gone two years without defeat when playing ninety minutes together.

Napoli manager Rafa Benitez is searching for a first choice central defender to partner former Real Madrid centre-back Raul Albiol and has detailed knowledge of the Arsenal man from his time in the Premier League.

Vermaelen has recently been linked with a loan move to London rivals West Ham, but Hammers boss Sam Allardyce accepts it is unlikely.

"I think under the circumstances at Arsenal, in the position that they’re in, in the Champions League and cup matches, they’ve had to use him as soon as any of the two defenders have been injured," he said.

"So I don’t think there’s any chance we’ll get somebody of his quality. It would be nice if we could.

"I’ve had targets and I haven’t got one yet apart from Roger Johnson, so I’ll keep going and hope we get some."

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