Thomas Vermaelen wasn’t available for Barcelona’s last match due to an ankle injury, but thankfully that situation isn’t as common as it used to be.

The Belgian defender is managing to maintain a good level of fitness and has proven himself to be a valuable squad member at Barcelona.

Vermaelen’s 14 appearances for Barcelona this season, mainly as a starter, doesn’t sound great on the fitness front, but when it’s considered he didn’t play a single match until November it shows how much more more available he’s been to Ernesto Valverde this year.

Wednesday’s edition of Catalan newspaper Sport reports Barcelona want to extend Vermaelen’s contract and have made an offer to do so. The defender’s deal currently runs until June 2019 and Barca want an extra year.

That doesn’t mean a sale down the line is ruled out, it just protects Barcelona and gives the probability of a higher fee. On that note, Sport say Vermaelen’s ‘second youth’ has caught the attention of a ‘club from the Premier League’.

There’s a pretty good chance that club is Everton.

Everton have been the English club most strongly linked with Vermaelen over the past year, and will likely be looking to add a defender in the summer window.

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In October, the defender told DH that Barcelona had prevented him moving to Goodison Park in the previous window: “The board told me they needed four centre-backs. I didn’t have a choice but to stay. Clubs tried until the very last day, like Everton, but it was impossible. I wasn’t even able to negotiate.”

At the time Vermaelen was mocked for those comments by the Spanish media, because it had been thought Barcelona were very keen to sell, and he hadn’t yet managed to make an appearance.

The situation has changed, and this time Barcelona may genuinely be against an Everton transfer. However, the club need to sell to fund their summer purchases and if the Toffees were to make a good bid for the 32 year old then it would surely be hard to turn down.