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Vermaelen bids goodbye to Arsenal fans: Was an honour to be a Gunner

Arsenal's departed skipper is clearly leaving the Emirates for Barcelona with a heavy heart.

Thomas Vermaelen has thanked Arsene Wenger, his players and staff, as well as the Arsenal supporters after signing for Barcelona this weekend. 

Many at Arsenal were reluctant to see the Belgian star sold, after Vermaelen proved himself a top class defender during his time at the club.

Becoming captain in 2012 following Robin van Persie's move to Manchester United, Vermaelen was unlucky enough last year to find himself behind the resolute defence of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, and with both players missing few games, the former Ajax man played many of his 21 appearances at left back, impressing there on more than one occasion.

It was clearly not an easy decision for the player to leave, and with his departure to La Liga giants Barcelona for £15 million confirmed in the last couple of days, the 28-year-old took to his Facebook and Twitter accounts to pay a heartfelt thank you and goodbye for his time at the club.

The class with which he has conducted himself as he pushed for a recall to the Gunners first team, as well as in the sincere goodbye he gives below, is of stark contrast to many a modern day footballer.

After 5 years at Arsenal - and the last 2 years a proud captain too - it's time for me to move on. The club, the team, the fans, the manager, the staff and other employees, you all made me feel at home at both the training ground and the Emirates Stadium. It was a wonderful time and I feel blessed I've had the opportunity to be a part of such a great club. There have been so many wonderful games and experiences, with lifting the FA Cup as an absolute highlight. I would like to thank you all for your support, it was a huge honour to be a Gunner!

Vermaelen's five years at the club saw him make 150 appearances and score 15 goals, with the popular defender able to lift the FA Cup on his final appearance for the club. 

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