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Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen out until March after ankle operation

The Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen will undergo ankle surgery this week and now hopes to be fit by March. The Belgium captain told the Belgian website Sporza the operation will take place in Sweden on Tuesday.

Vermaelen has played only five times this season, and has not made a league appearance since August after suffering an achilles injury while on international duty. He had been expected to return this month, but the player has now said that a small tendon, which runs close to the achilles tendon, needs to be removed.

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