Wenger first spotted Vermaelen in the Amsterdam Tournament in 2007 when he played for Ajax.
A year later he impressed the Frenchman again and it was a scuffle with Robin Van Persie which convinced Wenger Vermaelen was the hardman he needed.
The Gunners chief continued: "I loved what happened with Van Persie! We watched him from that moment on. I liked him when he played against us, because he kept Thierry Henry quiet one year and again he did the same with Van Persie."