Benitez is keen to sign Vermaelen as soon as possible.
Out-of-favour Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen remains a transfer target for Napoli, with manager Rafael Benitez desperate to sign the Belgian, according to respected Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri.
Vermaelen has been repeatedly contacted by Napoli,and Benitez asked to Napoli’s belgian Mertens to convince him,as Mertens himself stated
— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) December 24, 2013
Dries Mertens was the first player signed by Benitez when the Spaniard took over at the 2013 Serie A runners-up in the summer and is a national team-mate of Vermaelen’s.
The winger has admitted that the 26-year-old has been asked by the head coach to try and convince the Gunners skipper to come to Italy.
“I’ve told Thomas ten times that he should come here. Benítez also inquired about what he said me,” Mertens was quoted by Sport Voetbal Magazine.
“But Arsenal is also a nice, big club. It’s not that easy to leave”
Vermaelen has been sidelined at the Emirates Stadium by manager Arsene Wenger for most of the current campaign, with Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker developing a strong partnership in central defence.
It’s meant that the 28-year-old has been limited to just two Premier League starts this term and it’s unlikely the defender will be able to put up with this lack of game time for much longer.
Wenger will want to hold onto the Belgium international for as long as possible however, as defensive cover at the north London club is already slim and Vermaelen has had to step in for important matches with Manchester United and Chelsea due to injuries to the first choices.
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