Belgium international Thomas Vermaelen has completed his £15m move from Arsenal FC to FC Barcelona on a five-year contract.

Thomas Vermaelen’s future at Arsenal come under increased speculation this summer with both Barcelona and Manchester United being linked with a move for the Arsenal defender. Manager Arsene Wenger revealed his desire to sell Vermaelen to a foreign club, instead of strengthening direct rivals and the former Ajax star has now completed his move to the Catalan club on a five-year contract.

“Thomas Vermaelen has agreed to join Barcelona in a permanent transfer for an undisclosed fee.

“Vermaelen passed his medical in Barcelona on Saturday. His transfer is subject to the completion of the normal regulatory process.

“Everyone at Arsenal would like to thank Thomas for his contribution during his time at the club and wish him well for the future.” – Read an official statement published by Arsenal.

Following the arrival of Per Mertesacker, the Belgium international was relegated to the bench, while the German international and Laurent Koscielny became the preferred choice for Arsene Wenger at the center of the defence. The duo has been in impressive form since then and Vermaelen failed to break into the first team last season.

The Belgium international expressed his desire to leave Emirates in search of regular first team action earlier this summer, and both Manchester United and Barcelona were interested in signing him. Barcelona though were always the favourites as Arsene Wenger was unwilling to strengthen their direct rivals Manchester United, especially after the Robin van Persie saga.

The Catalan club’s reported £15m bid for the Belgium defender was accepted by the London club and he became Luis Enrique’s second defensive signing this summer after the arrival of Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia.

Barcelona announced the deal after Vermaelen passed his medical and revealed that the defender will be presented to press on Sunday.

“Thomas Vermaelen will sign a five-year contract with FC Barcelona on Sunday morning. After passing his medical on Saturday, he visited the Camp Nou facilities and posed for the traditional picture outside the club offices, with the crest in the background.

“He also found time to talk to Barça TV and, describing what an honour it is for him to be able to play alongside the best players in the world at what he calls “a beautiful club.”

“He also explains that as he’s played for Arsenal for several years, he knows just what it’s like to play under pressure at a club that expects to win every game, and says that his main priority for now is to adapt as quickly as possible to a new country, a new language and a new culture.” – Read a statement released by the club.