Vermaelen Targets Barcelona Return After ‘Procedure’ Not Surgery
After an injury suffered on international duty, Thomas Vermaelen was expected to return within just a week. That was however, an optimistic expectation. Over four months later, and the latest prediction on when he will be fit to play once again is, according to his manager Arsene Wenger, “four to six weeks”.
Wenger said that the new course of action in Arsenal’s fight for Vermaelens fitness will see him return very soon,
“It’s not a real surgery. It is to take out a little ligament next to his tendon. It is to open it a little bit and cut out the ligament that has been causing the friction. It is a procedure, that is the right medical term.
“We are very optimistic that [this will cure the problem]. But of course it is now what you call in football a little bit longer delay of four to six weeks.”
The Arsenal manager said that the Belgian may even be able to play in Arsenal’s first leg Champions League tie against Barcelona on February 16th:
“Let’s count the weeks to Barcelona and you will know. I count a minimum of four weeks, maximum six, so it is not an unrealistic target.
He does however acknowledge that the 25 year-old cannot be put straight into first team action – especially against a team like Barcelona with players who have enough attacking capabilities to frighten any top class defence. Vermaelen will realistically need some less competitive playing time for Arsenal before he can consider taking on the likes of Lonel Messi:
“But don’t forget as well he is a little bit in the situation of Aaron Ramsey, he has not played since the beginning of September, that means he will need some games to be completely fit.”
Wenger has said that if Vermaelen wasn’t back for Arsenal by the end of January, then he will be looking at possible signings to fill in for him. The Gunners have been linked to Chris Samba of Blackburn, who says he wants to leave his club, and Gary Cahill, who would cost £20 million – but with that price tag gone is any possibility of Wenger signing him. Samba would be the most likely choice at around £8 million, but with no value in the market today as Wenger and Ferguson always say, perhaps the Frenchman will just stick with what he has?
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