Barcelona are reportedly willing to allow defender Thomas Vermaelen to leave the club this summer, despite Marc Bartra already making way. Liverpool and West Ham have been linked with bids for the former Arsenal captain.
The Belgian has failed to set the world alight since his £10million move to Barcelona and with the Spanish club now focussing on signing Samuel Umttiti from Lyon, Vermaelen is likely to look for a move away in order to play more regular football.
The 30-year-old Belgian has struggled for game time in Spain and that has mainly been down to his persistent injury problems. Of course that will be a worry to potential new clubs although with the quality he occasionally showed for Arsenal in England previously, he may be worth the risk at a reported €10million.
In the 2009-10 season Vermaelen was named in the Premier League Team of the Season and scored eight goals in all competitions. If he can replicate form like that, particularly his goalscoring form then he will provide significant quality to whichever team he opts to join.
Vermaelen played in just 10 La Liga games last season and is likely to demand first team assurances at the club he chooses to play for next.
The transfer fee shouldn’t be a problem for either club with Barcelona asking for a relatively low amount. His next destination will ultimately boil down to which club can convince him to join them. Both have the power to offer high wages, but the manager and potential game time will play the most significant roles.
Liverpool’s lack of Champions League football or European football altogether next season has certainly damaged their pulling power, as shown in the case of Mario Gotze.
West Ham have new hope under Slaven Bilic and will hope the Olympic Stadium and previous dealings with Barcelona will help their bid to sign the Belgian. Alongside Winston Reid, Vermaelen could form a very solid defence. West Ham didn’t so much struggle defensively next season, but they need to add some top level experience to their defensive ranks in order to seriously sustain their top four bid.
Liverpool, on the contrary did struggle defensively last season. Klopp was never quite sure as to what his best defensive pairing was and I am personally not too sure that Vermaelen is established enough to guarantee an improvement to that defence. Despite his goalscoring ability and eagerness to succeed, Vermaelen is very much prone to an error in a similar way to Klopp’s current options. The Belgian is a bit erratic and is unlikely to provide the Liverpool defence with the stability and experience that they so desperately need. What will appeal to Klopp is the aggressive, hard working style that Vermaelen plays with, but if that comes at the expense of too many errors the German needs to evaluate whether or not the move is really worth it.
Either way it looks very likely that we will see Vermaelen back in the Premier League soon. We can look forward to some good defending, errors and spectacular goals from defensive. Thomas, it’ll be good to have you back.