It’s fair to say that reports linking Everton with a move for Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen have raised plenty of eyebrows on Merseyside.
After all, The Toffees’ transfer strategy this summer has revolved around signing stars of the future, players with the potential to grow and form a formidable Everton side in the near future.
With the exception of Wayne Rooney (below), a natural-born leader with invaluable experience at the top level of the English game, the likes of Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane and Sandro Ramirez are all hugely exciting talents who are yet to reach their peak.
Vermaelen, in stark contrast, appears to be on the decline, not least thanks to a relentless series of injuries. The Belgian’s body had already began to fail him during the latter days of his Arsenal career and, since moving to the Camp Nou in 2014, he has made just seven Liga starts.
A loan spell at Roma in 2016/17 was equally frustrating, injuries once again restricting Vermaelen’s involvement.
Therefore, reports in The Sun that Everton manager Ronald Koeman has given his blessing to a surprise swoop for the 31-year-old have come as a major surprise. Vermaelen is a hugely talented player, rated as one of the Premier League’s finest defenders during his time at Arsenal, and Koeman beleives that, if fit, he could offer excellent cover at the back.
That is an almighty, planet sized ‘if’, however.
Yet, Mundo Deportivo report that Barca may be willing to let Vermaelen join Everton on loan rather than on a permanent deal. And this suddenly makes the move look a little more tempting.
After all, if Vermaelen spends another season strapped to the treatment table, it would hardly burn a hole in Everton’s pocket. A short-term temporary deal would lessen the risks of a transfer that could prove to be either madness or a masterstroke.
What have Everton got to lose?