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Arsenal agree surprise deal for Ajax defender Vermaelen

Arsenal have struck terms for Ajax defender Thomas Vermaelen over a £10 million agreement.

Though his agent Soren Lerby was still negotiating personal terms last night, Vermaelen seems certain to sign a four-year contract at The Emirates after convincing the Arsenal manager he has the credentials to shore up a defence that was repeatedly found wanting last season, says the Daily Mail.

Sources in Belgium have expressed surprise at Wenger's interest, particularly after a recent interview with former Arsenal skipper Tony Adams on setanta.com.

Adams, who has been scouting for Arsenal since being sacked as Portsmouth manager, referred to Vermaelen's height, at 5ft 11in, and said: "I think he is a very good player, but I don't think he is ready for the Arsenal. I don't think the punters at Arsenal would like another small one."

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