Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen has admitted he may have to quit the club in January in order to seek first team football in a World Cup year, according to the Independent.

The Belgian international has had to watch on from the bench as Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny have flourished at the heart of the Gunner’s defence this season.

And, having played a mere 11 minutes of Premier League football this term, the 27-year-old knows he needs to be featuring more regularly if he is to force his way into Belgian manager Marc Wilmots’s World Cup squad.

He said:

“I’ll have to think about that when it’s necessary. January is still a few months ahead. Of course, never playing will not be the ideal situation for me to go to the World Cup, that’s for sure.”

Vermaelen joined Arsenal from Ajax in 2009 and since then had gone on to become a key member of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal side over the past four years.

He even replaced Robin van Persie as captain last August following the Dutchman’s departure to Manchester United.

However, poor form led to him being dropped from the side at various intervals last season, notably against Bayern Munich in the Champions League, with Wenger preferring Mertesacker and Koscielny.

But Vermaelen isn’t overly concerned about losing his place quite yet.

“People ask me if I panic because I’m not playing a lot but I’m not.

“I have spoken to the manager but it will remain private between us. Things can happen in a split second and change my situation. That can happen tomorrow or next weekend.

“In that case, we will speak differently in January. I have to be ready for that.”

However, the partnership of Mertesacker and Koscielny have helped Arsenal make an astonishing start to the season, having gone unbeaten since losing to Aston Villa two months ago.

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This article was first posted on October 16, 2013