Former Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen has revealed that he is closing in on a first appearance for Barcelona, announcing on Facebook that he should be ready to play at some point in April.
It will be a long overdue debut for the Belgian international defender, who arrived at the Nou Camp in the summer after a £15 million move from the Premier League side.
Vermaelen had found himself out of Arsene Wenger's team for large portions of the last couple of years due to the good form of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, but still proved himself a superb defender, and lifted the FA Cup in his last game for the Gunners.
A hamstring injury sustained in the World Cup developed into a serious problem for Vermaelen as he was negotiating a move to Barca, meaning he has missed the first nine months of his Barcelona career.
Understandably, Vermaelen was delighted to announced the improvement in his fitness. Explaining the injury, the centre-back told his Facebook page: “I sustained the injury at the World Cup and in the hospital in Brazil they said I would only be sidelined for 10 days. Barca then noticed the injury during a medical.
"They told me I had two options, to undergo surgery, which was not necessary, or to do specific exercises to strengthen that area.
"I opted for the latter but, in the end, it didn't work out and I underwent surgery (November 2014). I have followed the recovery programme set by the surgeon and everything is working well.
"I feel I have the backing of my team and of the club. I feel right at home. I just want to return to play as soon as possible. I still have not been able to play in an official game with Barca."
Though it looks like Arsenal dodged a bullet by selling Vermaelen for a decent price as he struggled to manage an injury that sidelined him for months, questions asked of Arsenal's defence this season mean many Gunners fans would have loved to have had their former skipper back at the club.
Vermaelen may now get to play his part in Barca's quest for La Liga and Champions League glory.