Thomas Vermaelen was expected to take his game to a whole new level when he left Arsenal for Barcelona in the summer of 2014 for £15 million, but things have gone horribly wrong for the defender. Injuries and fitness issues have massively affected the centre-back, who is now on loan at Italian club AS Roma.
Vermaelen has been able to play just nine league games for an AS Roma side who are set to finish in the top three of Serie A this season. When the 31-year-old centre-back has featured for the Giallorossi, his performances have been less than impressive.
Roma have the option to sign the former Arsenal centre-back on a permanent contract in the summer transfer window, but it is unlikely that the Italian club will pay money for a player they do not need. As for Barcelona, given the Belgium international’s injury issues and his age, the Spanish giants may not be too inclined to have him on their books for the 2017-18 campaign.
Moreover, Vermaelen himself may not be willing to play the role of a squad player at Roma or Barcelona. During his time in the Premier League, the former Ajax star had established himself as one of the best centre-backs in Europe, and there is still time for him to regain some of his former glory.
It would make sense for the Belgian to move on and find a new club. Below we have listed three teams in the Premier League where Vermaelen could revive his career.
West Ham United
West Ham United are an ambitious club, and they will be determined to bounce back from the disappointment of this season. The Hammers will not get relegated to the Championship at the end of the campaign, but at the same time, according to odds from Paddy Power, the London club are only 6/1 to end up in the top half. Slaven Bilic’s side need an experienced and quality centre-back next season to order to make a push for the top ten, and Vermaelen could be that player.
Newcastle United are still not guaranteed of finishing in the top two of the Championship this season, but given their run of games, the Magpies should be able to get automatic promotion to the Premier League. Manager Rafael Benitez will be looking to sign players in the summer transfer window in order to make Newcastle competitive in the Premier League, and he would be wise to take a look at Vermaelen. The centre-back is experienced and will be hungry to make amends for lost time.
This is a left-field idea, but would a return for Vermaelen to Arsenal be a shock? Probably, but it could work out for both the player and the club. The former Gunners captain will have to fight for his place in the starting lineup, but he would be a decent replacement for Per Mertesacker, who is 32 years of age and is past his best. Mertesacker’s current contract at the Emirates Stadium is until June 2018, but it would be wise of Arsenal to sell the German centre-back in the summer and bring in Vermaelen as a cover.