Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen is on the verge of completing a move to FC Barcelona

Arsenal have agreed a fee of about £15m with Barcelona for the sale of captain Thomas Vermaelen, report BBC. 

Barcelona had made an initial offer of  £10 million for  Thomas Vermaelen and with their reluctance to sell the player to Manchester United, the Catalan giants clearly had a lead in the pursuit. Vermaelen had already agreed a deal in principle to join Louis van Gaal at United but Arsenal are reluctant to lose such a versatile player to a rival, especially after the Robin van Persie saga.

With the reported 15m fee being accepted by Luis Enrique’s side, the 28-year-old Belgium centre-back must now agree personal terms with the club and clear the medical.

Vermaelen joined Arsenal from Ajax for £10m in 2009 and has made 150 appearances in all competitions. The Belgian was largely receded to the bench last season as Per Mertesacker and  Laurent Koscielny put on a strong defensive partnership.

Wenger would ideally like to keep him as back-up (he can also cover as a full-back), but the Belgian has only one year remaining on his contract. Arsenal, then, would have to lose the player for free next year, something they are obviously reluctant to do.

Arsene Wenger recently spoke about the situation and said that while Manchester United are one of the parties interested in his signing, Arsenal would prefer to sell the player oversees, so as to not strengthen a Premier League rival.

“Yes [We have received bids for Vermaelen]… I can’t tell you [who they are from], but you will know very soon.

“I’ve said since the start of pre-season that Thomas could leave us because he needs to play now. He had an outstanding attitude and behaviour but he’s in a position where it’s difficult to stand in his way if he finds an interesting opportunity.

“Ideally yes [I would rather sell Vermaelen abroad]. It is an option. I don’t want to tell you [which clubs are interested] but we have offers from abroad as well”,  said the Arsenal manager said

Seems like Arsene Wenger has got his wish of getting a good sum for a back-up option and sending the player off to a different league. Barcelona now have a solid, experienced and versatile defender and Luis Enrique should be happy with his addition. At 28 years of age, Vermaelen has enough time left and his leadership skills will also come in handy for the Catalan side.