Arsene Wenger is hopeful Thomas Vermaelen will return for Arsenal for the home clash with Manchester United on January 22.

32243 - Vermaelen in line for return against United

Arsenal have got themselves onto the fringes of the title race following a torrid start to the campaign, but injuries and absences are starting to bite at the Emirates.

Classy Belgian defender Vermaelen picked up a calf injury during the recent win over Queens Park Rangers. With Andre Santos, Kieran Gibbs, Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson also in the treatment room, Wenger is considering a loan signing but he is confident of welcoming Vermaelen back for the visit of United.

"Vermaelen should be back, not for Swansea [January 15], but after that," Wenger said.

"I do not want to go for a permanent solution because we have to pay all these people as well. But if I can, yes I will get a loan player until the end of the season."