Thomas Vermaelen
Vermaelen will miss Arsenal pre-season tour.

Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen hasn't travelled on the club's pre-season tour to Asia due to a back injury which could force manager Arsene Wenger into reassessing his summer transfer policy.

Vermaelen has suffered a succession of injuries during his spell in north London, missing parts of last season due to ankle and foot problems while his dwindling form saw him displaced as The Gunners' first choice centre-back.

There were even suggestions during the early part of the summer that Vermaelen would be surplus to requirements at Arsenal, with links with Napoli being eventually swatted away by the Belgian international.

But his latest injury, which could see him miss the start of the season, leaves Arsenal with a lack of cover at centre back heading into the new campaign and could force Wenger into changing his approach in the transfer window.

Links with the likes of Steven Jovetic and Gonzalo Higuain have been regularly this summer, suggesting that Arsenal are looking to add a world class striker to their artillery, but the blow to Vermaelen could see defensive options seen as an added priority.

After Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker were preferred for much of the season at centre-back, despite being club captain, Vermaelen's career at Arsenal was perceived to be almost over.

But Vermaelen said in May: "I'm happy at Arsenal. I didn't play much and that was frustrating, but things can turn around quickly.

"I was on the bench, but I could just as quickly be playing again. I'm working hard to make that happen.

"These are things that happen in professional football. Arsenal are a great club where there is a lot of competition."