Published On: Sun, Feb 17th, 2013

Another Arsenal star attracts Barca interest

Arsenal could be set to lose a THIRD player to Spanish giants Barcelona within two years, according to reports.

The Sunday People claims Gunners captain Thomas Vermaelen could follow former team-mates Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song to the Nou Camp.

According to the newspaper, Barcelona are searching for a successor to Eric Abidal, who recently spent time in hospital following issues relating to a liver transplant last April.

Unsure

It is claimed Barca are unsure Abidal will be able to compete at the highest level again because of his troubles, but at 33, they could look for a long-term successor regardless.

Vermaelen succeeded Fabregas as Arsenal skipper in 2011 when the midfielder rejoined his hometown club, and Barcelona have now made checks on him, the newspaper claims.

The Belgian defender signed a new four-year deal at the Emirates Stadium in October 2011, but it remains to be seen whether a move to the Catalan giants would prove too tempting to turn down.

Part-exchange

Barcelona are so keen to land Vermaelen they may be willing to offer striker David Villa in part-exchange, according to the newspaper.

Arsenal were keen on Villa in January, and although the Sunday People claims manager Arsene Wenger has now moved on to look at other striker targets, the newspaper claims Barca will try to reignite his interest if it helps them get Vermaelen.

The newspaper goes on to claim that Barcelona have around £40million available to spend on new signings in the summer, and plan to increase that figure by selling Villa, Adriano and Cristian Tello.

Arsenal are likely to fight to keep hold of Vermaelen, though, and will want to appease fans with a successful summer transfer window.

Their season is currently lurching from one crisis to another, and yesterday’s 1-0 home FA Cup loss to Championship side Blackburn Rovers was a particularly low point.

The result means the Gunners will now almost certainly extend their run without a trophy to eight years, unless they pull off an improbable Champions League triumph.

About the Author

- Freelance sports writer, 21. Graduated from the University of Sunderland in 2013 with a first-class honours degree in sports journalism. A lover of most sports, but football is my biggest passion, and for my sins, I'm a Newcastle United season ticket holder. Have been involved with Touchline Talk since summer 2012, and have been one of the editors of the site for most of that time.

  • lauren

    yeah, lets sell one of our better defenders and replace him with an out of favour 31 yr old striker .. makes perfect sense!

    • http://www.facebook.com/russell.hughes.319 Russell Hughes

      He’s only out of favour because he plays for Barcelona, stick him in 90% of the PL teams and he would play every game he was fit. Don’t think Vermaelen would fit at Barca though, he’s more of a CB and I’m sure they would rather sign an out-and-out LB.

  • Tom Brown

    what are barca thinking? they make a huge mistake and pay way over the odds for song, who gets nominated worst signing in la liga this year, then they want to repeat that with vermaelen? crack on I say, vermaelen is massively overrated, ridiculously error prone, and isnt a good enough leader on the field to be captain. mertesacker’s been our best cb this season, koscielny last season. Im so tired of seeing vermaelen make school boy errors and cost us games. Whatever you want to say about us selling players, this is one we actually should be looking to offload, he’s just doesnt cut it at arsenal. This isnt like cesc, nasri, van persie, because he’s not a good player we want to keep but cant, he’s a player we have but isnt really good enough. we should do a deal for villa


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