Barcelona have confirmed the signing of Arsenal captain and Belgian international Thomas Vermaelen for reported fee of £15 million.
Vermaelen has been at Arsenal since 2009 when he signed for the North London club from Ajax, and in the 2012/13 season Vermaelen was named the club captain after the sale of Robin van Persie, however the Belgian international had spent a majority of the 2013/14 on the bench after the defensive partnership of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker became one of the toughest in the league.
Barcelona have been looking for a new centre back after club captain Carles Puyol announced his retirement at the end of last season. The Catalan side have already signed French centre back Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia for £20 million. The signing of Vermaelen will improve the La Liga giant's defensive options and the quality of their defence.
Manchester United were linked with a move for the Arsenal skipper and offered the North London a player-swap deal but Arsenal refused the offer, ending Van Gaal's interest in the Belgian defender.
Vermaelen has already passed a medical at Barcelona and the Belgian has agreed terms for a 5-year-deal. Vermaelen will be Barcelona's fifth signing of the summer.
The Catalan club have already signed Liverpool striker Luis Suarez for £75 million, but the striker will not be illegible to play for a further four months after the striker bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in the World Cup. Barcelona have also signed goal keepers Marc-Andre ter Stegen from Borussia Monchengladbach and Claudio Bravo from Real Sociedad. They have also added Ivan Rakitic to their impressive midfield.
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