In a bid to strengthen their defence, Arsenal are reportedly interested in re-signing Barcelona outcast Thomas Vermaelen.
Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker recently suffered a gruesome injury which will keep him out for a considerable amount of time. The German stalwart has been a mainstay at the heart of the Gunners defence and would be sorely missed by Arsene Wenger. Gabriel Paulista and Calum Chambers could prove to be genuine backups for Mertesacker, but recent reports suggest that Wenger is in the market for a quality centre-back.
According to the Sport (h/t The Sun), Arsenal have made an offer to bring back former captain Thomas Vermaelen from Spanish side Barcelona. The Belgian who moved to the Catalan Giants for a fee of £15 million, could be brought back to Emirates for a considerably cheaper rate. Also with a decent amount of Premier League experience behind him, it should not take the defender much time to come to terms with the pacey nature of England’s top tier.
It is also understood that fellow Premier League side West Ham and Serie A giants Roma are interested in luring the wantaway Barcelona man towards their respective clubs. West Ham are in desperate need of big names as they shift to a new stadium and play under a bigger set of fans in the 2016/17 season. A player of Vermaelen’s caliber would certainly bolster Slaven Bilic’s defence and give the Hammers a legitimate chance of making it to the top four.
Roma, on the other hand, have a number of their top defenders linked with moves away from the Stadio Olimpico. Centre-backs Kostas Manolas and Maksimovic are subject to interest from some of the top English clubs and signing Vermaelen could give manager Luciano Spalletti a decent backup option should his main men decide to leave.
Is Vermaelen the right choice for Wenger?
Thomas Vermaelen’s career has taken a dip since his huge move to the Camp Nou in summer 2014. After completing a £15 million switch, the Belgian suffered numerous injuries in Spain which restricted him to only a solitary appearance that season. Even in the 2015/16 season, Vermaelen tallied just 20 appearances for the Catalan giants and was used only as a deputy to Luis Enrique’s preferred pairing of Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano.
Signing him could be more of a bane than a boon for manager Arsene Wenger. Known to show fondness for young and upcoming players, his interest in Vermaelen seems to be a tad too fortuitous. Also, replacing an injury-prone defender with another one who has similar concerns does not make a great deal of sense for the club. Instead, Arsenal could look at younger options in the big leagues across Europe.