Barcelona’s ‘operation exit’ continues, a process which will ideally see the Catalan club offload players they don’t really want and receive amounts that are inflated because a footballer has Barcelona on his CV.

Thomas Vermaelen has been in the midst of ‘operation exit’ for over a year, and after his loan to AS Roma didn’t work out, a new club is needed.

Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo say Everton appear the ‘most interested’ in signing the Belgian defender, but it’s pointed out that despite his injury history, the player ‘doesn’t lack brides’.

That’s a rather optimistic way of looking at it and if Vermaelen was of such interest he’d have moved by now, and the Catalan media wouldn’t be clinging to Everton interest.

The same newspaper claimed earlier this week that Everton have held talks with Vermaelen’s agent, but the Goodison Park club want assurances over Vermaelen’s fitness. That’s a bit like asking for assurances over North Korea’s temperament.

Nevertheless, Mundo Deportivo say there are options for Ronald Koeman and Everton: Permanent transfer or loan.

If Everton are genuinely interested they can probably talk Barcelona right down on any cost.