This article forms part of our Total Duds feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at a player who has disappointed since being signed, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to illustrate how ill-judged the transfer decision has been.
Who at Barcelona would have ever thought Thomas Vermaelen would have been a good purchase for the club?!
Whilst there could have been an argument that he was a brilliant player for Arsenal during the peak of his career, with his first season in north London, perhaps, his best as he managed to achieve figures of 1.9 tackles, two interceptions and 7.1 clearances in his 33 Premier League matches (per WhoScored), however that was probably as good as it got for the Gunners.
The Belgium international really struggled with injuries whilst in the English capital and never made more than that number of appearances in a single campaign once again.
In fact, that was what made Barcelona’s decision to spend £15m on his signature back in 2014 all the more stranger, as they must have known what they were getting with him when the went through the process of acquiring him.
At the time, Vermaelen stated that he wanted to put the injuries “behind him“, however it quickly became apparent that would not be the case for the centre-back.
He managed to make just 53 appearances for the Catalan giants in the four years he was stationed at the Nou Camp (with one goal to his name) and missed over 100 matches because of his fragile body and frequent trips to the treatment room (per TransferMarkt).
According to a report published by Sport-English back in February 2019, Vermaelen has missed over 240 football matches in his career because of the various problems he has had during his time at Ajax, AS Roma, Arsenal and Barcelona. As they put it: that’s four to five full season’s worth having been spent on the treatment table.
The 33-year-old left the Catalonia-based outfit in the summer and joined Japanese outfit Vissel Kobe on a free transfer, making himself the fourth ex-Blaugrana to make the switch, with Andres Iniesta, David Villa and Sergi Samper all playing for the J-League side as well (Sky Sports) – somewhere his injury concerns appear to be finally behind him, despite only being eight games in.
Barcelona should have known better than to splash £15m on Vermaelen and paid the ultimate price for a piece of stupid business.
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