Earlier this week, Thomas Vermaelen spoke to the Belgian media and made it sound like Barcelona had kept him at the club this summer against his will.

The former Arsenal captain talked up interest from other clubs, name-checking Everton specifically, and suggested Barcelona were so keen to keep him they would have asked for the buyout clause to be met.

Of course, the whole thing sounded ridiculous, Barcelona had, according to the Catalan media, been looking for a new club for Vermaelen pretty much since he joined the club and the full extent of his injury issues became clear.

Vermaelen told 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.”

Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo have taken up the claims, and don’t sound too impressed. Barcelona have since spoken to Vermaelen, believing it sounded like he wants a January exit, but the defender has backtracked somewhat.

Rather than trying to force through a move to Everton, for less than his colossal €80m release clause, Vermaelen is said to be happy to stay at Barcelona for the full season.

Mundo Deportivo say: ‘Either he didn’t express himself well or what he said in his interview wasn’t understood.’

Or, maybe, Vermaelen thought he could brag about Everton wanting him, Barcelona refusing to even consider a sale, and it not get back to Spain so quickly.