There is a lot fans swirling around the internet wondering why Louis Van Gaal would have interest in Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen?
He has lost his spot in Arsenal’s starting XI in favor of duo Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker. Arsenal had one of their strongest seasons last season since Vermaelen’s arrival, but due to losing his spot and injury, they had most success without their captain. Vermaelen started in just 8 matches last season for Arsenal. They only won two of them.
In the 8 games he did start, his defense kept a clean sheet only once. In comparison terms, Chris Smalling averaged a clean sheet per every three starts for United, for a much inferior defensive backline then the one in London.
But there is reason to why Van Gaal would want Vermaelen. And it does make sense.
Van Gaal knows that any winning formula will require having experience in the back, something the team will be lacking. While Phil Jones and Jonny Evans are comparable players to Vermaelen, they are both injury prone. Van Gaal is bringing his Dutch football tactics to Old Trafford. While Vermaelen is not Dutch, but Belgian, he was developed in the Ajax Amsterdam system who teach kids the same values as Van Gaal believes in. A fluid style of football. Vermaelen is great with the ball. A terrific passer from the back and rarely commits turnovers.
Familiarity in your team is very important. The sooner players understand what they are being asked to do, the sooner the team can show positive results on the pitch. Vermaelen can understand and translate what Van Gaal will demand of his players under his style. He also brings a lot of Premiership experience to the squad, something United will need. At age 28, he still has several of good seasons ahead of him.
It would also be very telling, for Van Gaal to send a shockwave to Arsenal and the rest of the Premier League by taking yet another Captain from Arsenal. Despite his lack of playing time last season, that would not sit well with Arsenal supporters.
Vermaelen’s contract with Arsenal expires in the summer of 2015, so the club not selling him this summer would risk losing him for nothing in just 12-months with nothing in return. Because of that, the pricetag would be smaller then his true value price.
He does not believe he is a injury risk. Prior to the World Cup, Vermaelen told Sky Sports he is ready to go.
“I’ve a lot of experience of sitting on the bench then coming back so I’m not worried about being match fit,”
Despite claiming he’s healthy, Vermaelen did not feature in Belgium’s 2-1 victory over Algeria in their World Cup opener.