Thomas Vermaelen is on the verge of leaving Arsenal for Barcelona. The defender has passed a medical at the Spanish club and will sign the contract later on today (click here to read more).
The Belgium international is considered as one of the best defenders in the world and, despite suffering with injuries and losing his place in the Gunners’ starting line-up last season, he remains an accomplished centre-back.
However, the 28-year-old former Ajax star says that he is still keen on developing his game and playing with some of the best players in the world at Barcelona, he will do so.
‘You play with the best players in the world and I am very honoured to play with them, to play in this team’, he told Barca TV. ‘It is very good for me as well. That means I can become a better player when I train every day with these players’.
‘I expect pressure like always’, added Vermaelen. ‘I played for Arsenal and it is not different from this club I think. I mean, you need to win every single game so I understand there will always be pressure to deliver a good performance and I will try to do that’.
It is interesting how Vermaelen underlines the similarity of pressure between two of the biggest clubs in the world, Arsenal and Barcelona, but perhaps in the Catalan capital he will realise that the pressure is much greater, especially now.
The Catalan giants are heading into a new era that has seen them part company with Alexis Sanchez, Cesc Fabregas, Victor Valdes and Carles Puyol among others. Star striker Luis Suarez has arrived from Liverpool, and so has Croatia international midfielder Ivan Rakitic from Sevilla.
After years of looking for a centre-back, Barcelona have signed two this summer: Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia and Vermaelen from Arsenal. Moreover, the four-time European champions have a new coach at the helm, a certain Luis Enrique.
It is the start of a new era at Camp Nou and Vermaelen will be a crucial part of it.