Thomas Vermaelen
Thomas Vermaelen has started just three Premier League games this season. Reuters

Arsenal have reportedly rejected an offer from Napoli to sign defender Thomas Vermaelen this transfer window even though the centre-back is apparently keen on moving away to get more playing time.

With Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny forging an impressive defensive duo during the first part of the campaign, the 28-year-old Belgium international has struggled to secure a place in Arsene Wenger's starting line-up.

However, Wenger sees the Belgian as the perfect back-up for his starting duo and according to Naples-based newspaper Il Matino, Arsenal have already rejected the first offer that Rafa Benitez's side proferred for the defender.

Benitez is concerned about having conceded 22 goals in just 20 Serie A games this season and his interest in signing Vermaelen was revealed recently by the defender's international colleague, Napoli winger Dries Mertens.

"I have already told Vermaelen to come to Napoli 10 times. The city is magnificent and even Benitez asked me to convince Vermaelen to come here. But Arsenal is a great club and it won't be so easy for him to leave," Mertens told Sky Sports.

Vermaelen may force his exit from the North London side as he is frustrated about his exile from the team. He has started just three Premier League games this season and although he is still the Gunners captain he has lost his first team role.

Furthermore, his lack of minutes at Arsenal have reduced his chances of making the national squad for the Brazil World Cup, and last October he suggested that if his absence from the team continued he may leave.

"Of course, never playing will not be the ideal situation for me to go to the World Cup, that's for sure," Vermaelen said.