Thomas Vermaelen
Vermaelen unaware of Serie A interest, claims agent. (Reuters)

Thomas Vermaelen's agent has played down reports suggesting the frustrated Arsenal defender will join Napoli during the January transfer window, refusing to be drawn on such rumours.

The Belgian international is yet to make a starting appearance for the Gunners this season having only returned from a back injury that side-lined him for three months.

The Gunners captain has struggled to rediscover his starting berth on his return to fitness after falling drastically out of favour last season. The Belgian started just one game for the club during the final three months of the campaign as Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny became Arsene Wenger's preferred defensive partnership.

With Vermaelen struggling to find his way back into the Arsenal first team reports have suggested a move to Serie A could be an option during the January transfer widow, with Rafa Benitez's Napoli and champions Juventus credited with interest.

But the centre half's agent has insisted neither he or his client are concerned by such unsubstantiated reports.

"We are not playing this game. I want to distance ourselves from these stories and also deny them," Vermaelen's agent Alex Kroes told Napoli Calcio Live.

"There are just rumours."

Kroes' comments come just days after Vermaelen admitted that he may have to consider a move away from the Emirates Stadium should his lack of appearances effect his chances of a first team role for Belgium at next summer's World Cup.

With Premier League duo Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen and veteran Daniel van Buyten providing stern competition for a starting berth in Marc Wilmots side, the Arsenal skipper understands he needs to be playing regularly.

"I'll have to think about that when it's necessary," Vermaelen told the Daily Mail. "January is still a few months ahead. Of course, never playing will not be the ideal situation for me to go to the World Cup, that's for sure.

"People ask me if I panic because I'm not laying a lot but I'm not.

"I have spoken to the manager but it will remain private between us. Things can happen in a split second and change my situation. That can happen tomorrow or next weekend.

"In that case, we will speak differently in January. I have to be ready for that."