The agent of Thomas Vermaelen has denied reports linking the Belgian international with a move to Napoli during the summer transfer window.
The 28-year-old remains under contract at Arsenal until the summer of 2015, but he has found it increasingly difficult to find regular first team football despite being the club captain. Arsene Wenger has preferred to pair Per Mertesacker with Laurent Koscielny in the heart of his back four, and it has been a huge success in recent times.
Only current leaders Chelsea have a better defensive record than the Gunners in the Premier League, so Vermaelen, who was sidelined at the start of the campaign, has been restricted to just three league starts and a further four appearances from the bench. Considering he was once considered to be amongst the best defenders in the division, it is little surprise, therefore, that he is being linked with a summer exit.
Reports in the Italian press have recently suggested Rafael Benitez wants the former Ajax star at Napoli next season, and is prepared to make a bid for his signature when the window reopens. However, this is news to Vermaelen’s agent, who is in possession of all the facts surrounding his client and insists talk of a transfer is merely speculation.
“Are the stories true? What you’ve read in the newspapers and on the internet is unfounded,” Alex Kroes told UltimeCalcioNapoli. “Things that have been reported are not true, and I say this with full knowledge of the facts. Some outlets are beginning to speculate, but that’s all it is – speculation. Now is not the time to talk.”
The Partenopei aren’t the only club to be linked with Vermaelen, who joined Arsenal in the summer of 2009 for a fee of £10million. Serie A rivals Internazionale, who have been widely tipped to take Nemanja Vidic when his contract at Manchester United expires, are also said to be interested, as are Russian giants Zenit St Petersburg.