By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger believes that securing Thomas Vermaelen on a new long-term contract projects "a different message" about Arsenal Football Club.
The Emirates Stadium side had a difficult summer with the departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, then suffered an indifferent start to the Premier League campaign.
However they are now climbing the table and the announcement of Vermaelen's new deal on Tuesday was greeted warmly by both the supporters and the manager.
"It gives a different message," said Wenger. "It looked like an exodus [in the summer] with everyone leaving but we are a happy Club.
"We did not have the start to the season we wanted but inside the atmosphere at the Club is very solid, very united and very positive. We want to turn results around and the fact that players are extending their contracts at this point is positive for us.
"I am delighted Thomas signed. It was expected. We announced it on Tuesday but he signed it on Saturday. We had the desire to extend and we were quite relaxed that he would sign.
"For me, we have a strong central defence now. Mertesacker is an outstanding player, Koscielny will be an outstanding player - he is slowly getting there - and there is Djourou, Squillaci and Vermaelen.
"So this is good news for us. It closes speculation about centre back positions, we have four or five now and that should be enough."Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 19 Oct 2011