It is fair to say that Thomas Vermaelen's career hasn't exactly hit the personal heights he expected it would when he left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2014.
The Belgium defender may have added seven trophies to his collection since joining the Camp Nou outfit, but he has managed just seven La Liga appearances in his three seasons at Barcelona.
With that in mind, it is perhaps no surprise that the 30-year-old has been linked to a move away from the Catalan club. It was initially believed a move to Roma was most likely, but now AS Sport is reporting that a summer return to the Premier League could be in the offing.
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Per the Spanish news outlet, Barcelona, having been left unimpressed by the offer from Roma, are waiting for an offer from West Ham for the former Gunners captain.
West Ham has been linked with a move for Vermaelen since April but it had looked increasingly likely that they would miss out on his signature as other suitors emerged.
Now, though, with Barcelona having today announced the signing of French centre-back Samuel Umtiti and Vermaelen actively seeking an exit, it looks like Slavan Bilic and co. could be moving back towards the front of the queue.
Their cause could be aided by the fact that, again per Sport, the Belgian is said to be interested in playing for the Hammers, and it would be his "first option" unless either Inter Milan or Liverpool made an official offer.
Available for a reported 12 million euro fee, Vermaelen would be a good addition to a West Ham team that conceded 51 goals in the Premier League last season.
At this stage, though, it doesn't appear the east London club have made an official bid for the wantaway Belgium defender. Sport does not that the next week is crucial if the deal is to be done.
If he can stay fit, there is no doubt that Vermaelen would immediately become one of the club's best defenders if a deal was to be completed.
Although some Arsenal fans were critical of his indecisive play at times during his five seasons in north London, Vermaelen more than lived up to the initial 10 million euro fee Arsene Wenger paid to bring him to the club from Ajax in 2009.
That was, though, before the persistent hamstring injuries that have overshadowed his Barcelona career emerged.
Whether West Ham were convinced enough by Vermaelen's four appearances for Belgium during Euro 2016 to firm up their interest remains to be seen, but a Premier League return for the ex-Gunner certainly appears more likely than it did this time last week.
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