Thomas Vermaelen required surgery prior to Barcelona transfer

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Manchester United must be grateful that they didn't sign Thomas Vermaelen after it emerged the former Arsenal defender required surgery before he completed his £15 million transfer to Barcelona this summer.

The Daily Star reports how the Red Devils dodged a bullet following their failure to snap up the Belgium international, because of his chequered history with injury problems that still risk ruining his career.

Vermaelen is yet to make his debut for his new employers at Camp Nou due to an ongoing thigh problem, which must leave Louis van Gaal feeling relieved that he didn't waste money on that acquisition, particularly in light of the injury crisis he is currently experiencing at Old Trafford.

The Manchester United boss has been unable to call upon a host of first-team regulars this season, and as a result has been forced to fast-track a number of uncapped academy products straight into the senior team.

Defensive duo Tyler Blackett and Paddy Mcnair have both profited from Van Gaal's lack of options and philosophy to promote from within, with the Dutch coach's backline the most severely affected area of his depleted squad.

He was heavily linked with a move for Vermaelen when it became clear that Arsene Wenger would allow the 29-year-old to leave the Emirates Stadium at the end of last season, but a combination of the Gunners boss' reluctance to sell to Manchester United and the player's desire to move to La Liga resulted in his move to Barcelona.

Many people might sympathise with the Catalan club's bad luck with regards to the Belgian's transfer, but new information has come to light which suggests that Luis Enrique's side are getting exactly what they deserved.

Journalist Jordi Grau on TV3 Esport Club reported last week that a medical examination picked up a problem during the preliminary tests that every prospective signing undergoes, and doctors advised senior Barcelona officials that Vermaelen would need an operation.

New information shows Wenger was right to sell Vermaelen

However, sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta chose to ignore the professionals' recommendations and rubber stamp the deal regardless, allowing Arsenal to pocket a tidy sum of money for a player that has barely been able to stay fit at any point over the past 18 months.

Wenger was initially criticised for his failure to fill the void following Vermaelen's departure, but this latest twist paints the frugal Frenchman in a different light, as a much more savvy sort of negotiator.

Manchester United, meanwhile, will just be grateful they weren't the ones that parted with a significant sum of money for a player that would've been nothing more than a spectator for the entirety of the 2014/15 campaign so far.

Thomas Vermaelen
Manchester United
Premier League

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