Arsenal Football Club is delighted to announce that Thomas Vermaelen has signed a new long-term contract with the Club.

The Belgium international has been a star performer in Arsenal’s defence during his 54 appearances for the Club and has now put pen to paper on a new contract.

Vermaelen, 25, made more appearances than any other Gunners player during his debut season, being named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Season for 2009/10. During that campaign, his defensive performances were just part of the story. He also weighed in with eight goals, including thunderous long-range efforts against Blackburn Rovers and Wigan Athletic.

Captain of the Belgium national side Vermaelen has made 32 appearances for his country including the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Vermaelen previously skippered Dutch giants Ajax, where he spent nine years, having joined as a teenager from Belgian club Germinal Beerschot.

Arsène Wenger said: “We are absolutely delighted that Thomas has signed a new long-term contract. Our plan is always to sign top quality players and with Thomas extending his contract, we have done just that. Thomas is a special player, who has always made a huge contribution on the pitch and we are looking forward to him being a part of our future at Arsenal Football Club.”

Vermaelen, who is now closing in on a return to full fitness said: “I am really happy to have signed a new contract with Arsenal. I always had the intention to stay here. I feel there is a big belief in me from the Club, from the boss and from the fans and that is one of the reasons why I stayed. Arsenal is a fantastic Club. We have great supporters, we’re doing well financially and we are playing with some quality young players now and they will develop, which is very good for the future.”

Everyone at Arsenal Football Club is looking forward to Thomas’ continued contribution in the forthcoming years.

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18 Oct 2011