Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen claims he wants to remain in the Premier League, after reports surfaced linking him with a summer switch to Spanish giants Barcelona. The 27-year-old centre-back signed for the Emirates club in 2009 and rapidly established himself as a fan favourite and key first team member.

Thomas Vermaelen

However, a series of poor performances this season have led to the Belgian international losing his place to Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker. The Mail believes Arsene Wenger will listen to offers in the summer, as he looks to revamp his squad.

The Sunday People earlier linked Vermaelen with a move to the Camp Nou, where he will be expected to replace captain and club icon Carlos Puyol. The Gunners, meanwhile, are believed to have identified Swansea City centre-back Ashley Williams and Olympique Marseille's Nicolas N'Koulou as potential targets.

Vermaelen has made 25 Premier League starts this season and has yet to score a goal (he made 28 last campaign and scored six times). The centre-back has 36 appearances in all competitions.

Gatting on Arsenal Youth's Win over Wolves

Meanwhile, Arsenal youth coach Steve Gatting praised his youngsters after a 3-2 win over Wolverhampton Wolves on Monday. There was special mention reserved for Chuba Akpom, who scored a brace, and the midfield partnership of Gedion Zelalem and Kristoffer Olsson.

"Chuba's scored a good chunk of goals. I thought his second one was an excellent team goal. We passed it well with good interplay through midfield," Gatting said after the game.

"We know what they (Zelalem and Olsson) are good at. They are good at passing the ball and they do that well. It wasn't the easiest pitch to pass the ball on. They worked hard. Both of them need to work hard at their defensive game but I was very pleased again with them," he concluded.