Friday 15 December 2017

Vermaelen completes transfer to Barcelona

Thomas Vermaelen is unveiled at the Nou camp as Barcelona's latest summer signing. Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images
Thomas Vermaelen is unveiled at the Nou camp as Barcelona's latest summer signing. Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images

Jamie Holland

Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has not ruled out more signings to follow the capture of defender Thomas Vermaelen as the Catalan giants continue their summer rebuilding.

Vermaelen completed his move to Barca yesterday, signing a five-year contract at the Nou Camp after joining from Arsenal for a fee that could eventually rise to €18.8million.

The Belgium international joins Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Claudio Bravo, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Jeremy Mathieu as newcomers at Barca, who will be under the guidance of new coach Luis Enrique next season as they look to recover from a hugely disappointing campaign under Gerardo Martino.

Speaking at Vermaelen's presentation, Zubizarreta admitted he was very happy with the talent Barca now have at their disposal, but also revealed that the club were still open to more additions if the right players become available.

He said: "With the addition of Thomas we completed a defensive line of a very high level. There are options that we are working on for the exit of some player, as such we're not discarding that others could come in.

"What I can say is that at midnight on August 31 we hope to have the best squad possible. Even though we are very happy with the players that we have, if there is a chance to improve it, we will try.

"Until the first or second (of September), when we talk about the market being closed, anything could happen."

Zubizarreta preferred not to talk about specific targets, which reportedly still include Fiorentina's Colombia star Juan Cuadrado, while he also said Barca had not received any offers for their full-back Dani Alves.

Vermaelen was not short of suitors as it became increasingly clear his future was not at Arsenal, with Manchester United one of the clubs heavily linked with services, but the 28-year-old insisted it was a "dream" for him to move to the Nou Camp.

"I'm very happy. It's a dream for many players to be here, and I've achieved it. I will play with the best, I will train with them every day and I hope to improve," he told a press conference.

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