Thomas Vermaelen will prove Barcelona doubters wrong

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Much has been written about Barcelona's decision to sign Thomas Vermaelen from Arsenal last summer.

When the £15 million transfer had been ratified, there was a sense of incredulity that the Catalans would even consider buying the Belgian, injured for much of the last season.

Clearly, in that respect it was a gamble on the part of the club and Andoni Zubizarreta in particular, but the transfer makes perfect sense for Barca.

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Firstly, until the arrival of Vermaelen and Jeremy Mathieu aside from Marc Bartra, Barcelona didn't have a natural centre-back of height and strength with which to deal with the Catalans achilles heel, the high ball into the box.

Stats don't lie

Take a few minutes to look back over Vermaelen's games for Arsenal and watch how he dominates aerially in his part of the pitch.

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Looking at his stats from time spent at the Gunners, Vermaelen won over 60 percent of his headed duels and that would be an upgrade on every other defender that Barcelona already have at the club.

Furthermore, he is quicker over the ground than anyone else that holds or has held that position in the squad for Barcelona.

Dribbles are not his forte but Gerard Pique is adept at the same and so therefore a partnership with the elegant Catalan makes sense.


Vermaelen's experience at the top level also holds him in good stead.

Arsene Wenger is not known to suffer fools gladly so for him to make the Belgian his club captain speaks volumes.

You simply don't become manager of Arsenal if you don't have the requisite skills.

It's also worth noting that in almost every other aspect of his defending, including slide tackles, one on ones etc., Vermaelen is either as good as, or better, than the defenders that Barca have in the back line with the exception of Pique.

It would appear that supporters are, in the main, informed by things picked up on social media rather than studying the facts. And frankly the facts speak for themselves.

At this juncture, there is an outside possibility that Vermaelen will be around to finally make debut in a fortnight's time.

Best still to come

Dani Alves' suspension in the next round of the Champions League certainly gives Luis Enrique a chance to move his defence around slightly and once shoehorned into the back four, injuries permitting, Vermaelen will take some shifting.

Still only 29 years of age, Vermaelen has years left at the top and arguably, given the rest period he's had with injuries, will have his best playing years ahead of him.

It won't be too long before that £15 million will be looking like a bargain that's for sure.

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Thomas Vermaelen

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