Vissel Kobe defender Thomas Vermaelen has been named on the list of the strangest transfers as compiled by renowned media portal Bleacher Report. The former Ajax Amsterdam and Arsenal player made the list for the top 11 strangest buys.
The Belgian international was 11th on the list for his transfer from Arsenal to Barcelona in the summer of 2014. The Spanish giants paid £15m for the 34-year-old left-back cum centre back despite the fact that he was recuperating from surgery to correct a thigh problem. He had sustained the thigh injury during the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil.
The footballing world was stunned when Barcelona signed the player who had fitness issues at Arsenal in the past seasons leading to that summer. On his transfer, then Barcelonasporting director AndoniZubizarettalater said that the club was aware that Thomas Vermaelen would join the Nou Camp giants with injury before adding that they had put in place a conservative process for the defender. As expected by many, Vermaelen struggled for fitness throughout his stay at Barcelona.
Thomas Vermaelen played 34 league games only during his five-year stay at Barcelona, netting one La Liga goal. He spent the 2016/17 campaign on loan at AS Roma in the Italian Serie A. He left Barcelona at the end of his contract last summer and subsequently signed for Vissel Kobe in the Japanese J-league where he linked up with former Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta and ex-Arsenal teammate Lucas Poldoski. He signed a two-and-a-half-year deal upon signing for his current team.Since his time at Vissel Kobe, Vermaelen has won two cups namely the Emperor’s Cup and the Japanese Super Cup.
Other players on the list of the strangest transfers include Jay Bothroyd, Andy Carroll, Kim Kallstrom, Sol Campbell, Danny Dichio, Bebe, Julien Faubert, Tyrone Mears, Ronnie O’Brien and Ali Dia.