A month ago Barcelona invited offers for their struggling centre-back Thomas Vermaelen. For a defender who has played for such illustrious teams as Arsenal, Roma, Ajax and the Catalan giants, you would think they would have no problem finding potential suitors. Alas, it turns out nobody wants poor old Thomas.
Barcelona let it be known once again on July 2nd that the club were willing to hear offers from teams interested in signing their player. Spanish website Sport were the conduits this time as the Blaugrana waited with bated breath.
And then, six days later, rumours appeared that Crystal Palace were serious about buying Vermaelen. It made so much sense: not only are the London club looking to fill the void left at the heart of their defence by Mamadou Sakho, but their new manager, Frank De Boer, is a former Ajax and Barcelona hero. Surely this has all the ingredients of a done deal?
The rumour lasted a couple of days but faded away. Either it wasn't really on the table to begin with, or De Boer changed his mind. It seems the Spanish media want him gone just as much as Barça do.
Then on July 11th, ESPN report that, yes, Barcelona are ready to offload Thomas Vermaelen to any one who will take him.
— Thomas Vermaelen (@thomasvermaelen) July 13, 2017
But why is it that no one wants Vermaelen?
Since leaving Arsenal for the Nou Camp three years ago, the Belgian has had a torrid time. He suffered an injury almost immediately upon arrival, missing their historic treble winning season entirely. He went to Roma last season, but made next to impact with the Giallorossi as injuries continued to plague him.
A club might be willing to take him on loan, but with two years left on his current deal, Barcelona are desperate to get him off their books for good.
The fact is that if Vermaelen was at all fit, he would probably be at a club who wanted him right now. He can't seem to stave off injury long enough to have a sustained run in the team. While he's not exactly world class in his position, there's quality there that caught Barça's eye in the first place. If he gets back to peak condition, he could fight for a place in the squad again. It might be Ernesto Valverde's only option.
In any case, we're just waiting for Bray Wanderers to put in a bid any minute now.