Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen will be confirmed as a Barcelona player later tonight after completing a medical and finalising terms on a deal which is widely estimated to have cost the Catalan giants a sizeable £15m.
Vermaelen was targeted early on by Man United boss Louis van Gaal as a versatile option capable of adding experience and steel to his Old Trafford backline, but that transfer chase has come up short thanks to swift action from Barca, who agreed a fee with Arsenal yesterday to sign the Belgian international.
Get ready for the Camp Nou announcement
Belgian journalist Kristof Terreur used his Twitter account to disclose details of the Vermaelen deal moving forward at a rapid rate over the last 24 hours, with Barca ready to finally announce the long-overdue acquisition of a central defender this evening.
Barca boss Luis Enrique is clearly confident that Vermaelen can recapture his best form in La Liga, despite a difficult 18-month period for the tenacious defender which has left him an uncomfortable bystander for the majority of Arsenal's last two seasons.
Familiar path from London to Barcelona
Vermaelen only started seven games for Arsenal last term thanks to a combination of injury problems and a strong understanding developed by Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, which has finally forced him to find a fresh challenge elsewhere.
The 28-year-old has agreed a five-year contract with Barca, who have decided to put together a far more lucrative package than Man United offered to get their man on a deal approaching £100,000-a-week.
Barca will make Vermaelen the eighth player to swap North London for the Camp Nou, but their track record in that respect has been patchy to say the least.
Alex Hleb, Emmanuel Petit and Alex Song all failed to make the grade in La Liga, which means Vermaelen has plenty to prove to make his purchase look anything approaching prudent.
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