Spain expert updates Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona transfer story

Available defender Thomas Vermaelen has been linked to Barca and Manchester United in the latest Arsenal transfer news.

The one thing that is holding up a prospective Thomas Vermaelen transfer from Arsenal to Barcelona is the defender's fitness record.

That is, according to Graham Hunter, who wrote Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World and Spain: The Inside Story of La Roja's Historic Treble.

The La Liga expert told talkSPORT earlier today, Wednesday, that Vermaelen was never Barcelona's first choice centre back option in the summer market, but the Camp Nou club had already been denied an approach for their primary candidate - Marquinhos.

"Vermaelen has for a long time been on the Barca 'maybe' list, the absolute first choice was Marquinhos from PSG but they've given up on him," said Hunter.

The Belgian international is also wanted by Manchester United, who are keen to shore up their defensive options with a player who has Premier League experience.

Since transferring to Arsenal, Thomas Vermaelen has suffered calf issues (x6), achilles injuries (x2), ankle complains (x4) and a repitition of a hamstring injury (x4).

"Barcelona like Vermaelen," continued Hunter, "but they have major doubts over his fitness record."

The esteemed journalist did conclude that Barcelona "are struggling in the market", which implies that, with just under a month left in the window, the club could return for Vermaelen should their other options fail to materialise.

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