Last Updated: Fri, 24 Jan 2014 07:59
Arsene Wenger has confirmed he is "ready" to extend defender and captain Thomas Vermaelen's contract at Arsenal.
The 28-year-old Belgium international has been struggling for regular action at the Emirates Stadium this season as Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny have dominated the two central defensive positions.
Vermaelen expressed his desire to get more game time ahead of the World Cup in Brazil this summer which resulted in speculation that he could be allowed to leave in this January transfer window.
However, Wenger has now spoken out to confirm that he not only wants to keep Vermaelen on board for the remainder of this season, but he is also looking to hand him an extended contract with the north Londoners.
The Gunners boss said on the club's website: "I am open to it. I am ready to extend his contract. We want Thomas Vermaelen to be happy and have the number of games a player of his class deserves.
"On my side, I have a high respect for his qualities and attitude and I am ready to extend his contract.
"At the moment we're all on board for something this season that is respectable. At the end of the season I can sit down with Thomas and see what he thinks about it."
Meanwhile, Wenger, who ruled out making any new signings this month unless something "exceptional" turns up, also confirmed that the club are "very, very, very close" on agreeing new deals with Per Mertesacker, Bacary Sagna and Tomas Rosicky.
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