Thomas Vermaelen

Arsenal skipper Thomas Vermaelen is in footballing limbo at the moment – the Belgium international was once the jewel in the Gunners’ defensive crown, but he’s now playing second fiddle to Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, who have formed a formidable partnership together since the turn of the year.

But the 27 year-old is desperate to secure a starting spot in the Belgium squad ahead of the 2014 World Cup, and told reporters earlier this month; “January is still a few months ahead. Of course, never playing will not be the ideal situation for me to go to the World Cup, that’s for sure.

” Things can happen in a split second and change my situation. That can happen tomorrow or next weekend. In that case, we will speak differently in January. I have to be ready for that.”

Unless Vermaelen manages to usurp one of his in-form team-mates from the Arsenal starting XI, a January switch seems likely, with interest in the centre-back’s services reportedly very high throughout Europe.

Some have speculated Barcelona could snap up the Belgium international in a bid to rectify their defensive frailties.

But Serie A champions Juventus have been the most recently linked in the tabloids, and the 5 foot 11 defender has been on Manchester United’s transfer radar for some time.