Wenger’s hand forced by new Vermaelen blow

ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger admits he will have to strengthen his defensive options in the transfer window after Thomas Vermaelen suffered a fresh blow in his attempts to recover from an Achilles injury.

The Belgium international has not featured for Arsenal since the end of August, despite Wenger’s initial prognosis claiming the 25-year-old would be sidelined for two weeks.

“Vermaelen had another setback on Saturday that we are concerned with,” said Wenger. “We are consulting top specialists around the world. Unfortunately I can’t give you any precise date, but I concede that, with this setback from Thomas, we are in a situation where will look around.”

Sebastien Squillaci suffered a hamstring strain during the FA Cup third-round draw against Leeds on Saturday, which could rule him out for the rest of the month.

Reserve team captain Ignasi Miquel, 18, could feature in tonight’s Carling Cup semi-final fist leg at Championship strugglers Ipswich.