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Barca Sign Arsenal Defender Thomas Vermaelen

In a move that really smells of desperation, Barcelona have paid a reported £15 million for Arsenal defender, and signed the 28-year-old to a five-year contract.

This was followed on Sunday by a statement on Barcelona’s website.

“Thomas Vermaelen is now officially an FC Barcelona player. A few minutes past 11:15am, the player signed a contract with the Catalan club. It is an agreement that binds him with the club for the next five seasons, until 2018/19.”

The defender passed a medical on Saturday and was presented to fans and media at the Nou Camp on Sunday after finalising the deal.

“Coming to Barcelona is a dream move – it wasn’t a difficult decision at all,” the centre-back said.

“I feel ready to play here. I think I can offer a lot to this club.

“There’s a lot of competition here but I’m very excited. It’s up to me to show what I can do – it’ll be a challenge for me.”

I call it a signing for desperation because although Vermaelen is a central defender, a position Barcelona desperately need to strength, he spent last season on the Arsenal bench as Arsene Wenger preferred Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny as his first-choice pairing at centre-back.

He made only 13 starts in all competitions and 21 appearances in total for Arsenal during the campaign, which concluded with him being an unused substitute in the Gunners’ FA Cup final victory over Hull as they collected their first trophy in nine years.

Vermaelen was initially an integral part of the London club’s defence after signing from Ajax in 2009, but form and fitness have subsequently put his starting spot in jeopardy. He has played 150 times for Arsenal overall in five seasons, scoring 15 goals.