For months the Catalan press have been trying to find a destination for Thomas Vermaelen. Surplus to requirements at Barcelona, the former Arsenal captain spent last season on loan at AS Roma but wasn’t able to make much of an impression due to fitness issues.
There’s not been a great deal of interest shown in the defender, or interest hasn’t made its way to the media. Searching for someone to link, Watford are often thrown into the mix thanks to a tenuous link some months ago.
Now,there’s a new club, and the Spanish press have jumped on English claims that Crystal Palace are keen. So worried were Barcelona that they wouldn’t find a home for Vermaelen, they’ve been considering trying to bring him back into the squad and make some use of their investment, explain Catalan newspaper Sport.
With a contract until June 2019, if possible Barcelona would prefer a permanent exit so they don’t have a similar situation next summer, and Crystal Palace may be able to provide that.
As badly as Vermaelen’s Barcelona move has gone, there was a reason the club wanted him and if the Belgian can stay fit then there’s a possibility he could get back to his excellent best. Crystal Palace are looking for a defender, and whilst the move would be a huge gamble, there’s always the chance it could work out.
With World Cup 2018 on the horizon, Vermaelen has extra incentive to prove his fitness and form, which may well benefit Crystal Palace.
As for Barcelona, they’re not going to put up much resistance to a move, and Frank De Boer could find this a relatively cheap transfer, especially if the defender accepts a salary linked to appearances.