Thomas Vermaelen
Thomas Vermaelen is likely to miss the start of the season after picking up an injury on international duty with Belgium. [Reuters]

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger may well have to bring in some defensive cover after it was revealed that injury prone captain Thomas Vermaelen will miss the start of the new season.

The Belgian defender had fallen out of favour with Wenger last term but was hoping to make an impression during pre-season in order to gain a regular place alongside either Per Mertesacker or Laurent Koscielny.

However, an injury picked up while representing Belgium at the end of May appears to be more serious than first thought, with the Daily Mail reporting that the chronic back problem could keep him out of action for a number of months.

Reports suggest that Vermaelen will miss Arsenal's tour of the Far East which begins on Saturday when they play an Indonesia XI as the club medics want to monitor his rehabilitation at their London Colney training complex.

With Johan Djourou joining Hamburg on a season-long loan and Sebastian Squillaci released, Vermaelen's absence will leave Wenger short of experienced options at centre-back.

Mertesacker and Koscielny performed well together last season and seem to have a good understanding but Wenger may well decide that he needs further cover in case Vermaelen continues to pick up injuries.

The north London club have been heavily linked with Swansea City defender Ashley Williams but it is believed that they are unwilling to meet the Welsh club's £10m valuation.

That could see Wenger instead turn his attention to young French centre-back Kurt Zouma who has been heavily linked with a move away from Saint-Etienne this summer.

The 18 year old has earned a reputation as one of the best prospects in Ligue 1, and has previously been linked with a move to Arsenal.

Wenger has already convinced one young French star to move to the Emirates in Yaya Sanogo and Zouma may fit in with Arsenal's transfer policy of bringing in young players for relative low fees, rather than established stars with huge price tags.