Report: Former Arsenal defender's season suffers another setback

Thomas Vermaelen Pre FA Cup Press Conference

Thomas Vermaelen has yet to make his Barcelona debut since his big-money summer move, and it now looks as if he will have to wait until next season.

Last summer Barcelona finally invested in some defensive players rather than just overloading their team in the attacking department. Following the departure of Carles Puyol, Thomas Vermaelen was brought in as the man to base the defence around.

Vermaelen had suffered plenty of injury problems at Arsenal but nevertheless Barca brought him in after a World Cup in which he had encountered an injury to his thigh whilst with Belgium. The Daily Mail has now reported that the central defender may have to wait until next season before he makes his full debut for the Spanish giants.

The 29-year-old made a friendly appearance for the club back in September, but broke down again in November just as he was nearing a return. Surgery followed in December on his thigh problem in the hope he could return before the conclusion of the season. The Belgian had returned to light training but has been complaining of muscle pain.

It shows that Arsenal got the better end of the deal when they sold Vermaelen for £15 million in the summer. Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, Calum Chambers and now Gabriel Paulista provide Arsene Wenger with more than enough quality.

Barcelona's defensive issues continue and it is something that Manchester City should look to exploit in their Champions League tie. Gerard Pique and Jeremy Mathieu have been the preferred central defensive pairing this season and were at the heart of the defence for Barca's 1-0 defeat to Malaga on Saturday.

The experienced pair should still be able to give Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko a good battle, but with the first leg taking place in Manchester on Tuesday night, City know they will need to score to give themselves a good chance of progression.

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