Former Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen has suffered an injury during Barcelona's pre-season game with Gimnàstic de Tarragona, possibly scuppering the chance at a return to the Premier League, according to Sport.
The Belgian international has made just 21 appearances for Barcelona since his move to Catalonia in 2014, suffering a constant string of injuries. Looking to end his time at the Camp Nou and restart his career ahead of the World Cup in 2018, Vermaelen has been a summer target for West Brom and Anderlecht.
Vermaelen injured in a match that isn't even serious enough to be called a friendly. Ah, you couldn't make this shit up.— FCB News (@FCBNewsRoom) August 4, 2017
With 61 appearances for the Belgian national team, Vermaelen's move to Arsenal in 2009 from Ajax pushed him into the spotlight of European football. Despite poor form towards the end of his time in north London, Vermaelen hit the ground running at Arsenal and was regarded as one of the best defenders in the Premier League.
It was reported that West Brom officials were in Barcelona on Friday to try and finalise a deal for the 31-year-old defender, however, his latest injury could change the Baggies approach in the transfer market.
After growing up in the youth ranks at Germinal Beerschot since the age of 6, Vermaelen left Belgium in 2000 to join Dutch side Ajax. Following a loan spell with RKC Waalwijk during the 2004/05 season, Vermaelen went on to become one of the most sought after defenders in Europe, eventually completing a £10m move to Arsenal in 2009.