Barça and the Gunners have agreed on a €14 million transfer fee, and the Belgium international will sign a four-year contract. The deal is expected to be officially announced in the next 72 hours.
The 28-year-old center-back became a star defender for Eredivisie's Ajax, and was purchased by Arsenal in 2009. He quickly gained the club's respect and became a captain, winning the 2013/14 FA Cup and lifting a trophy for the Gunners for the first time since 2005. Despite being a leader, he didn't have many chances to produce on the field last season, which led to disappointment. Since the rumors of a battle between Barça and Manchester United for his services began, the player never said publicly that we wanted to stay, which led to many speculations on his future.
His departure became even more likely when Arsenal's manager Arsène Wenger didn't hide that his captain could be on his way out:
"At the moment Thomas Vermaelen is here. He is injured at the moment with a short-term injury. It [a move] could happen, yes it’s a possibility that he goes. If he goes we have to replace him because he’s an important player in our squad.
"I expect him to stay but he, of course, did not play enough games last year. For me he’s a very important player but I couldn’t guarantee him the games he wanted last year."
And he is in fact leaving. Both United and Barça made the same offer, but the London side decided to accept the Catalans proposal for the obvious reason of not letting Vermaelen play for a Premier League rival.
As Wenger said, Vermaelen is currently nursing a minor injury suffered during the World Cup, but he's expected to start the season normally with whatever his team is. Reportedly, that team is Barça.
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