If the team needed any lifting before their trip to Marseille, this should be it. The news of Thomas Vermaelen penning an extension to his contract. Obviously, what transpired in the summer has got a lot of fans worried that the situation might be replicated with those currently with 2 years left on his contract. The Belgian centre back was one of them and huge relief now that he has signed on the dotted line.
Arsenal has signed him for almost 2 and a half seasons now. A period which we have only a total of 1 good footballing season from him. A record that is blighted by injuries, long term ones at that. Some are claiming it is a big risk to further his contract and raise his salary given the lack of playing time.
Yet, it is undeniable that Vermaelen is the best of the current crop. His astuteness in defending, his drive, his spirit and his leadership has been top notch every single he put on the red and white. To that end, I can hardly find the right reason not to continue to keep him at Arsenal Football Club.
He’s is still young and while there are injury concern, I think we can put it down to bad luck rather than injury prone. It’s not as if we’ve never signed any player with a worse injury record than Vermaelen. Immediately, Marc Overmars comes into mind. We persevered 8 seasons with Robin Van Persie and look how that is turning out now. Who’s to say the same who happen for Vermaelen when he comes back.
Most fans/experts/pundits would say that RvP, Jack Wilshere, Wojciech Szczesny and Vermaelen himself are the only players in this Arsenal squad who are near the peripheral, if not already in the group of world class players. Which is why it is heartening to see someone who is widely acknowledged as a very good player still think there’s plenty to prove.
Even if he lacks match practice, if fit, Vermaelen would walk straight back into the starting line-up. Despite that, you can never find him resting on his laurels. He’s always pushing the boundaries and never be contend with the level he’s in. With that comes constant improvement, which in the end, would be beneficial to the club as well. He goes on to say this.
That is an attitude that is worth following. Without being too harsh, that is an attitude that is severely lacking some of the other players in this squad. Some are more contend with their spot in the team than others. Believing that they are good when they’ve never even hit the heights of contribution that Vermaelen did for us. You can see the same mistake week in, week out. Shows that lack of real desire to push and overcome their limitations.
We’ve seen how head drops when the going gets tough. It’s like they say, lacks real fire in the belly. Too many times, the confidence goes out of the window as soon as we conceded a goal. Even when we are more than a goal ahead, we allowed one single setback to knock the stuffing out of us.
There will be hard times throughout the season. Unless we play first class football and the opposition plays a stinker for the rest of the games this season, there will be matches where we would be under intense pressure and nothing seem to go for us. It is then where the mental part comes into play.
It’s easy to be great when everything goes your way. It’s when you show your true prowess and be great when everything goes against you that will truly define how good a team is. Now, if only the captain signs on.