The Spanish media simply refuse to let go of Thomas Vermaelen’s incorrect, as they see it, claims about a Barcelona exit and a move to Everton being blocked.
During the international break, Vermaelen told Belgium’s DH: “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.”
Everton’s only option, so the same for other clubs, would have been to pay the Belgian’s €80m release clause. This all led to raised eyebrows in the Spanish media, where it’s well known a move would have been entertained during the summer window, and likely will be again in January, and then next summer if Vermaelen stays where he is.
All the major Spanish sport newspapers have rubbished the comments, and talked up the idea that, should Ronald Koeman want him in January, then a move to Everton wouldn’t be blocked beyond reason. Or a move anywhere else for that matter.
Marca touch on the comments once again in their Thursday edition, and say Vermaelen has contacted Barcelona’s management and ‘softened’ what he said in Belgium. Once again, Marca say Vermalen ‘did not present a serious offer to leave’ during the summer window.
This likely all boils down to ego, understandable ego rather than the flashy variety. Vermaelen was hardly going to admit there’d been a vacuum of interest, and so Everton’s interest was probably talked up to be more than it was.