Thomas Vermaelen completes transfer to Barcelona from Arsenal
Barcelona has completed its anticipated capture of Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen, with the club announcing it has signed the Arsenal captain to a five-year contract at Camp Nou.
Despite his captaincy, Vermaelen found himself below Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in the pecking order in North London, and had been angling for a move away from the club through the summer. Manchester United was also in the running for his signature, but Barcelona offered a better fee (up to $25 million, according to multiple reports) as well as a longer contract (Manchester United reportedly offered four years). There is also the not-inconsequential matter of Arsenal not wishing to sell to a Premier League rival, as it did with Robin Van Persie.
Arsenal will now be chasing a replacement for Vermaelen ahead of its Premier League opener on August 16 vs. Crystal Palace. Barcelona opens its La Liga campaign the following weekend, on August 24 against Elche.