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Thomas Vermaelen out for another six weeks

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Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen will be undergoing surgery on his achilles area, apparently to fix a small tendon that attaches to the achilles which is the real problem for the Belgian.  According to the Guardian, this likely means that Vermaelen will be out for six more weeks:

The Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen is to have an operation on his ankle in Sweden on Tuesday, and is not expected to return until March.

The Belgian himself, according to the Mirror, wants to return for the Barcelona match in February, but that seems incredibly unlikely.  What this means for Arsenal's buying prospects remains unclear, Arsène Wenger being his usual close-lipped self.  It seems unlikely that Arsenal will work with two or three healthy center halves for the forseeable future, but it is also unlikely that Wenger will want to bring in another top-notch starter.  Too many cooks in the kitchen, and Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny's development will be stunted.

But a move seems necessary, and although Wenger may not move for top-notch young talent right now, he may look for seasoned veteran presence to hold down the fort and spell Djourou, Koscielny, and Squillaci.  Another option, of course, is to bring in Ignasi Miquel from the youth ranks, but Wenger seems more reluctant to use youth players this season than he did last season, or the year before (paging Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, paging Jay Emmanuel-Thomas).

One thing is probably for certain, though: whomever Wenger brings in, it will probably be a surprise to everyone but him...