Arsenal have accepted the bid of FC Barcelona for Thomas Vermaelen and the Catalans are set to announce his signing today.
It was reported yesterday that Arsenal has accepted the bid worth 19 million euros from FC Barcelona and reports coming from Spain have claimed that the Belgian international is set to travel to the Catalan capital today in order to complete his medical and sign the contract of 5 years.
Barcelona based newspaper El Mundo Deportivo has also confirmed that the player is set to arrive in Spain today. Mundo Deportive report claims that: “Barca and Arsenal have reached an agreement for the transfer of Thomas Vermaelen Barca team for 19 million euros. MD has been told, the center will come to Barcelona in the next few hours, this Friday or tomorrow, Saturday. Remember that we revealed that Raúl Sanllehí MD, director of football FC Barcelona traveled yesterday to London to try to close the deal, although competition was from Manchester United who also claimed the Belgian international and upped their offer.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was keen to extend the contract of Vermaelen but the player refused to sign new deal. The departure of Vermaelen mean that Arsenal is left with only Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker as established defenders in the heart of the defence.
Manchester United were also interested in the capture of Thomas Vermaelen but it appears that the Belgian international has opted to play for FC Barcelona instead. The key reason behind Manchester United’s failure to get their man is reported to be their absence from the Champions League next season.
After Jeremy Mathieu, Vermaelen will be the second defensive signing for FC Barcelona this summer. Leaky defence was the main area of concern for Barcelona coach Luis Enrique and Sporting Director Andoni Zubizaretta, and the duo has acted quickly to sign two world class defenders.
However, Thomas Vermaelen was not the first choice of coach Luis Enriwue. Paris Saint Germain youngster Marquinhos was the preferred target of Enrique but the French champions refused to sale their prized asset to the Catalans.
FC Barcelona is expected to make initial payment of around 15 million euros and the rest in installments. Vermaelen’s Arsenal contract was due to expire next summer.
FC Barcelona are the highest spenders in Europe during this transfer window as they have already signed the likes of Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Jeremy Mathieu till date. Meanwhile, the club is expected to sale some of their players to settle their books and the likes of Alex Song and Ibrahim Affelley are expected to bid farewell to the club in coming days.