Vermaelen's contract-extension comes as a boost to Arsene Wenger, who has struggled to hold onto his star players. Picture - Reuters.

In a boost for the London club, Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen has extended his contract at the Emirates with a new long-term deal.

Although he has been hampered by injuries since his move from Ajax in 2009, he is recognized as Arsenal's most reliable centre-back after his huge performance in his first season at the club.

However, some may question whether it is wise to hand a seemingly injury-prone player a long term contract. And they have enough reason to do so as the Belgian has played just nine competitive games for Arsenal in the last 18 months.

He is currently out injured, but is nearing full fitness. He is expected to make his return when Arsenal travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea on October 29.

I am really happy to have signed a new contract with Arsenal. Vermaelen said. 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, he told the club's official website.

It comes as a huge boost for manager Arsene Wenger, who recently admitted that most of his squad expressed a desire to leave during the summer.

We are absolutely delighted that Thomas has signed a new long-term contract. Wenger said. 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.