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Vermaelen pens long-term Arsenal deal

Arsenal centre-back Thomas Vermaelen has signed a new long-term contract to extend his stay at Emirates Stadium.

Thomas Vermaelen is happy with his deal

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Vermaelen made a big impact when he arrived at Arsenal from Ajax in 2009 but a series of injury problems have limited the Belgium international to just nine competitive games for the Gunners in the last 18 months.

The new deal comes as the defender closes in on his return to full fitness, with the club's game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on October 29 pencilled in as a likely return date.

Vermaelen, who was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Season for 2009-10, said: "I am really happy to have signed a new contract with Arsenal. I always had the intention to stay here. I feel there is a big belief in me from the club, from the boss and from the fans and that is one of the reasons why I stayed.

"Arsenal is a fantastic club. We have great supporters, we're doing well financially and we are playing with some quality young players now and they will develop, which is very good for the future," he told the club's official website.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was equally thrilled with the news, adding: "We are absolutely delighted that Thomas has signed a new long-term contract. Our plan is always to sign top quality players and with Thomas extending his contract, we have done just that.

"Thomas is a special player, who has always made a huge contribution on the pitch and we are looking forward to him being a part of our future at Arsenal Football Club."

The news of Vermaelen's extended contract comes on the same day that Wenger revealed that "half the dressing room wanted to leave" in the summer when Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Cesc Fabregas exited the club.

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