Arsenal star in Italian link

Thomas VermaelenArsenal skipper Thomas Vermaelen is being linked with a summer switch to Italian Serie A side Napoli.

The 27-year-old Belgium international central defender took over the captaincy at the Emirates Stadium when Robin van Persie departed for Manchester United last summer.

However, Vermaelen’s performances dipped during the course of the season which paved the way clear for Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker to form a strong partnership which Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has stuck with.

Vermaelen’s first-team chances could be limited next season and that has alerted Italian side Napoli who will have Champions League football on offer after finishing second behind Serie A champions Juventus.

Vermaelen could also play for a familiar face in Naples with outgoing Chelsea interim coach Rafael Benitez and current Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas both being linked to the post this summer.