Club captain Vermaelen remains a target for Benitez.
Napoli have not given up hope in their quest to try and sign Arsenal club captain Thomas Vermaelen and are looking to tie the transfer up before the end of the January window, reports Corriere Dello Sport.
The Serie A side have been interested in the 28-year-old for some time, as the continued success of central defensive partnership Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker at the Emirates Stadium has severely limited Vermaelen’s chances.
This season the skipper has made just 11 appearances in all competitions, which has only included three Premier League starts and one minute of action in the Champions League.
Napoli manager Rafael Benitez is therefore hopeful of attracting the Belgium international to Italy and partnering the defender with Raul Albiol at the back.
Benitez has experimented with both Miguel Britos and Federico Fernandez alongside the Spaniard, but neither have been to the former Liverpool and Chelsea boss’ liking.
Vermaelen may also have one eye on the upcoming 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in which the Gunners star’s nation Belgium have qualified for the first time since 2002.
The country are considered to be dark horses, but with a number of defensive options available to head coach Marc Wilmots – including Toby Alderweireld, Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen – a place in the 23-man squad is by no means a guarantee.
National team-mate and current Napoli ace Dries Mertens have urged Vermaelen to make the switch to the Stadio San Paolo.
“I have already told Vermaelen to come to Napoli 10 times,” Mertens was quoted by Sky Sports.
“The city is magnificent and even Benitez asked me to convince Vermaelen to come here.”
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