Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen is a target for Serie A giants Napoli, according to the Metro.

Reports in Italy suggest manager Rafael Benitez has turned his attentions to Vermaelen, after being knocked back in his pursuit of Liverpool’s Daniel Agger.

The Belgian has found first team opportunities hard to come by at the Emirates this season, with Arsene Wenger preferring the partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.

Benitez is said to have drawn up a four-man shortlist of January targets, with the Spaniard desperate to strengthen his centre back options.

Italian newspaper Il Mattino also names Marseille’s Nicolas N’Koulou, Cagliari’s Davide Astori and Inter Milan’s Andrea Ranocchia as the other candidates.

But despite Vermaelen spending the best part of the season on the bench, Arsene Wenger is unlikely to let his club captain depart this month, with new arrivals remaining his only concern.

The games are set to come thick and fast for the Gunners between now and the end of the season, with Wenger’s men progressing to the fourth round of the FA Cup, and a mouth watering last 16 tie with Bayern Munich in the Champions League on the horizon.

However Vermaelen is said to be concerned with his status in the Belgium squad ahead of the summer’s World Cup, and may look for a move that would offer him regular first team football.

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