Arsène Wenger is “open” to extending Thomas Vermaelen’s contract - and will discuss it with him at the end of the season.

The Belgium international has had limited first-team opportunities this term due to the outstanding form of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.

Wenger sympathises with his captain and would like to keep him at the Club.

I have a high respect for his qualities and attitude and I am ready to extend his contract

Arsène Wenger

“I am open to it,” the manager said. “I am ready to extend his contract. We want Thomas Vermaelen to be happy and have the number of games a player of his class deserves.

“On my side, I have a high respect for his qualities and attitude and I am ready to extend his contract.

“At the moment we’re all on board for something this season that is respectable. At the end of the season I can sit down with Thomas and see what he thinks about it.”

Wenger revealed that contract negotiations with Per Mertesacker, Bacary Sagna and Tomas Rosicky are nearing a conclusion, but he does not expect any new signings this month.

“That [the new contracts] is very, very, very close,” he said. “Not for all of them but for most of them.

“[Making any additions] looks very unlikely. I must say we are not close to doing anything. I always feel a bit guilty going to a press conference during the transfer market and having nobody to announce but I don't want to lie!

“Overall we have a very strong squad. If something exceptional turns up we will do it. But not everyone will strengthen. They buy, but that does not always mean strengthen.”

Copyright 2014 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 Rob Kelly 23 Jan 2014