Vermaelen and Szczesny heading for Arsenal exit

Thomas Vermaelen and Wojciech Szczesny could be looking at the beginning of the end of their Arsenal careers after the pair were left out of the Gunners’ Champions League second-leg victory over Bayern Munich, the Daily Mirror has reported.

Szczesny was left at home after manager Arsene Wenger revealed he was not in the right mental state to take part, while Vermaelen was a substitute in the 2-0 win. Despite the victory on the night however Arsenal still exited the competition, having lost the first-leg 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium – a match in which both Szczesny and Vermaelen took part.

The Mirror claims Vermaelen is a target for Barcelona this summer and, if he was to leave the club, would hand the captain’s armband over to Mikel Arteta. Jack Wilshere would however be the club’s long-term skipper.

Vermaelen, an experienced Belgium international, joined Arsenal from Ajax in 2009, and has thus far made 126 appearances under Wenger, scoring 15 goals.

Szczesny would be replaced not by Lukasz Fabianski, who kept a clean sheet against Bayern, but by a new goalkeeper bought in the summer. Swansea’s Michel Vorm, Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina and Stoke’s Asmir Begovic are all under consideration.

Poland international Szczesny has made 100 appearances for Arsenal, making his debut in a League Cup win over West Bromwich Albion in 2009, keeping a clean sheet in the 2-0 victory.

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