We brought you exclusive news on Monday, contradicting widespread reports from the mainstream media when we reported that FC Barcelona would sign Thomas Vermaelen ahead of Manchester United, and now the move is one step closer to fruition as reports emerged confirming that the Blaugrana have agreed a fee for the Arsenal captain. While the value of the fee varies from media outlet to media outlet, the consensus is that FC Barcelona will pay between £10 and £15 million to secure the signature of the Belgian centre-half, with Barca Blaugranes sources adamant that a deal would be struck for €12 million.
Certainly, I would be lying if I said that Thomas Vermaelen was my preferred choice as Barcelona's final defensive signing, heck, I'd be lying I said that he even featured in my top ten targets. However, what's done is done, and we must now look at the positives: this deal will go some way to solving our defensive crisis, that much cannot be argued. Admittedly, there are question marks over Vermaelen's ability, particularly in the "biggest" matches, but in terms of improving squad depth, Vermaelen will be a useful acquisition.
And in avoiding the allure of a "marquee" name, like Mats Hummels or Mehdi Benatia, FC Barcelona have placed considerable faith in young Catalan defender, Marc Bartra, who has thrived in recent appearances for the club. This continued trust in La Masia graduates will only serve to strengthen the club in the long-run, even if for now, there are multiple defenders who would have been better signings than Vermaelen.
However, the deal is not done yet. FC Barcelona are yet to agree personal terms with Vermaelen, who may be looking for assurances regarding his salary (which may not fit into the rigid hierarchical structure currently in place at the club) and his playing time. As an outsider looking in, it's difficult to gauge how prominently Vermaelen will feature in Luis Enrique's plans, but given the reasons for his departure from Arsenal. this may prove to be a stumbling block in any negotiations, while the medical could also raise potential concerns for the Blaugrana given Vermaelen's lengthy relationship with the injury table...
Anyway, what do we think Barca fans?
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