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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: "It's difficult to leave out Thomas Vermaelen"

Arsene Wenger admits that it is "difficult" to leave out defender Thomas Vermaelen, who has been linked with a move away from Arsenal.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has claimed that it is "difficult" to leave defender Thomas Vermaelen out of his starting lineup.

The Belgium international has suggested that he could leave the Gunners in January due to his failure to break the partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny this season.

"It's difficult to leave out Vermaelen, but he handles it with dignity," Wenger said in a press conference. "He is a top-class player."

The French boss has confirmed that full-back Bacary Sagna will be out of tomorrow's match against Hull City, with Carl Jenkinson taking his place.

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Arsenal's English midfielder Jack Wilshere scores his second goal during the UEFA Champions League group F football match between Arsenal and Olympique de Marseille at the Emirates Stadium on November 26, 2013
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