The Belgium born Thomas Vermaelen was one of the most sought after players in this year’s transfer window. After Arsenal declared their intention to sell, he was the subject of much interest from both Manchester United and Spanish giants Barcelona. He ultimately made the £15 million switch to Barcelona, but has not yet made a competitive appearance for the Catalans so far.
Even though he was made club captain after the departure of Robin van Persie to United, he failed to cement a first team spot for most of last season due to the success of the pair of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker. And when Arsene Wenger decided (inexplicably) to sell him without bringing in a replacement, it was a decision that caused much concern.
Vermaelen had been linked with a move to Barcelona during every transfer window for the past few years. The idea that he could play the Barcelona way was an attraction as was that he’d be available for a cheap price in comparison to others. However, the Catalan press had linked so many defenders to Barcelona that it was unbelievable until a firm move was made and interest confirmed.
Arsenal preferred the Spanish option rather than sending another club captain to Manchester United and Vermaelen got an excellent chance to get his career back on track at the very highest level. However, that involved actually getting on the football pitch and he hasn’t done that competitively yet. Vermaelen’s only match for Barcelona was a friendly against an Indonesian U19 team but he’s been unavailable since.
Apparently this is something to do with his injury problems, and Catalan newspapers are claiming that Arsenal knew they were selling a player who had gone through a ‘dangerous spiral of injuries’. But Arsenal can hardly be blamed for this; the players’ injury problems were well known. The defender has plenty of time to build a great Barcelona career but if he doesn’t the Catalan media will add him to their list of reasons to be angry at Arsenal.