Vermaelen completes Barcelona move
Barcelona have completed the signing of Thomas Vermaelen from Arsenal for a fee believed to be in the region of 15 million pounds.
Club captain Vermaelen, 28, had grown tired of life on the bench at the Emirates -- he made only 21 appearances in total for Arsenal during the 2013-14 campaign, which concluded with him being an unused substitute in the Gunners' FA Cup final victory over Hull as they collected their first trophy in nine years -- and has opted for a new challenge in Spain.
Barcelona said in a statement on their website: "Thomas Vermaelen is now officially an FC Barcelona player. A few minutes past 11:15am, the player signed a contract with the Catalan club. It is an agreement that binds him with the club for the next five seasons, until 2018/19.''
- FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 10, 2014
"I'm feel very happy," Vermaelen told Barca TV on Saturday night. "I'm very excited to play for this beautiful club. It's one of the best in the world. It's a dream for a lot of people to play for this club.
"You play with the best players in the world and I'm very honoured to play with them. It means I can be a better player when I train every day with these players.
"I expect pressure, like always. I played for Arsenal as well and it's not different than this club, I think -- you need to win every single game -- so I understand there will always be pressure to deliver a good performance and I try to do that.
"My first goal is to adapt as quickly as I can. It's a different culture for me, a different language as well, so that won't be easy. I need to adapt as quickly as we can and then see how far we can go."
The Belgian was initially an integral part of the London club's defence after signing from Ajax in 2009, but form and fitness have subsequently put his starting spot in jeopardy.
Vermaelen had been linked with Manchester United, but it is understood that Arsenal proposed a swap deal which the Red Devils were not prepared to do.
Information from the Press Association was used in this report.