After an entire year sidelined by injury, Thomas Vermaelen is finally embarking on a career at Barcelona.
The former Arsenal captain has started in both of Barcelona’s opening La Liga fixtures, scoring once as the reigning champions have – so far – maintained a perfect record.
Vermaelen was at Arsenal from 2009 until the move in 2014, and has said that the Spanish giants are in some ways very similar to both Arsenal and Ajax, the club he made a name for himself.
“It’s the same philosophy. They are teams who want to play football to entertain and to avoid long balls,” the Belgian defender said to the official Barcelona website. “[To] keep the ball on the ground, scoring as much as possible and create a lot of chances.”
During his time in north London, Vermaelen made 150 Arsenal appearances despite another injuries. Eventually, though he was named captain in 2012, the defender found himself on the bench with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny forming a superb understanding.
That led to the £15m move to Barcelona last summer and, after injuries allowed him to make just one appearance in his first season, the defender now feels much happier about his fitness.
“I feel good and I hope to contribute my share to the new success of the team,” Vermaelen insisted. “Last year we won the treble. It will not be easy to repeat that, but we will certainly try. The team is largely the same and we are just as hungry as last season.”
It’s good to see the former Arsenal man, who left with no ill-will, back on the pitch and hopefully he can have another successful season in Spain.