Arsène Wenger says his current centre-back options remind him of when Tony Adams, Martin Keown and Steve Bould were all in the Arsenal squad.
His natural position is there and I like to have a central defence where you have a right-footed player and a left-footed player. That is why I always build around ThomasArsène Wenger
Wenger admits it is difficult to decide who to leave out - much like the situation with that celebrated trio at the start of his reign at the Club.
“Yes, it is a bit like that,” he told Arsenal Player. “The one who didn’t play [the decision] was not justifiable.
“In the end we played the three together in some games, but when I moved to a back four we were always in a position where you had to make a choice.
“I rotated and at some stage every time I made a decision [about who] was left out, I thought 'it is not right'.”
Wenger is pleased to have Vermaelen back in contention, and believes the captain offers a fresh alternative at the back.
“He is naturally a left-sided player, more than anybody else,” he said. “His natural position is there and I like to have a central defence where you have a right-footed player and a left-footed player. That is why I always build around Thomas.
“For the rest, he has all the attributes of a good centre back because he has the physical qualities and the technical qualities and the experience to read the game.
“He is a natural player, but sometimes you cannot be too complicated. It worked until now and we have another candidate as well in Sagna. Every game he has played there, he has done extremely well. So we have four good centre backs.”