Thomas Vermaelen to miss preseason Asian tour

"Knock knock." "Who's there?" "Back." "Back who?" "Back hurts." "That's a terrible joke, Tom." - Jan Kruger

A recurring back ailment will sideline the Arsenal captain, throwing major doubt into his availability for the start of the upcoming season

Thomas Vermaelen's had a rough year or so. After successfully coming back from a season-long injury in the 2010/11 season and taking over the captain's armband from Robin van Persie, he found himself benched due to poor play and Arsenal finding a successful partnership in Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker. He vowed to fight for his place back in Arsene Wenger's starting XI, but that appears, for the time being, to be put on hold as he's been ruled out for Arsenal's upcoming preseason Asia tour of Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan with a back injury he's been dealing with for quite some time and, as the Mail reports, this latest setback will see him miss the start of the 2013/14 EPL season.

This is unfortunate both for him and the club; let's be honest, Thomas Vermaelen is better than what he showed last season and it was great to hear him proclaim his desire to give it everything he had to find himself back on the pitch, but at the same time, the club has no real confident option past his name on the squad sheet at center back.

As you may or may not have heard, we're chasing a particular Argentine player who plays in Spain but now it appears we might need to expedite shoring up center back (as if we didn't need to before this latest injury news) at the same time. Right now, we have Ignasi Miquel and/or Hector Bellerin as our 3rd options and, while they hold long-term potential and value for the club, Arsenal shouldn't be forced to rely on them in case either Koscielny or Mertesacker go down with an injury.

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