Arsenal Says Defender Vermaelen Agreed Sign to New ‘Long-Term’ Contract

Arsenal said injured defender Thomas Vermaelen signed a new ‘long-term’ contract with the north London soccer team.

The 25-year-old Belgian made the most appearances of any other Arsenal player in his first year at the club and was named to the Professional Footballers Association team of the 2009- 2010 season. His extension was announced in a statement on the Gunners website.

Arsenal has struggled this season, and is 10th in the 20- team Premier League. The club is regrouping after selling captain Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Eboue and Gael Clichy over the summer, while bringing in Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker, Yossi Benayoun, Andre Santos and Gervinho. New captain Robin Van Persie, whose contract expires after next season, said he doesn’t want to negotiate an extension during the season.

“Our plan is always to sign top quality players and with Thomas extending his contract, we have done just that,” coach Arsène Wenger said in the statement.

Last week, Wenger said Vermaelen will return in two to three weeks from an ankle injury that kept him out since August. He missed much of last season after hurting his other foot.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Elser in London at celser@bloomberg.net

Photographer: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Defender Thomas Vermaelen made the most appearances of any other Arsenal player in his first year at the club and was named to the Professional Footballers Association team of the 2009-2010 season. Close

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Photographer: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Defender Thomas Vermaelen made the most appearances of any other Arsenal player in his first year at the club and was named to the Professional Footballers Association team of the 2009-2010 season.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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