Thomas Vermaelen
Thomas Vermaelen yet to play for Barcelona this season after Arsenal blocked his move to Manchester UnitedGetty

Barcelona have confirmed former Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen requires surgery and will be out of action for four to six months. The Gunners' injury crisis may have been even worse if manager Arsene Wenger had not decided to part ways with the defender in the summer.

The La Liga giants agreed to sign the Belgium international in August for around £15m even though the club were aware he was injured, as he had a hamstring problem during the World Cup.

At the time, Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta was criticised for the signing as the fee paid was considered excessive for a player who was used as a substitute under Wenger and who only had one year left on his contract with the north London club.

And Zubizarreta's decision looks even more debatable as Vermaelen is yet to make his debut for Barcelona and is not expected to do so before April.

Following weeks of uncertain about his injury, Barcelona have confirmed the worst regarding the defender's condition via an official announcement.

"First team footballer Thomas Vermaelen will undergo surgery on his right semitendinosus muscle by doctor Sakari Orava next Tuesday in Finland. The estimated recovery time is 4 to 6 months," Barcelona said.

"The 29 year old Belgian defender joined Barça from Arsenal last summer."

The player will travel to Finland and will be operated on by surgeon Sakari Orava, a specialist in treating athletes' muscle injuries.

Even though the club claimed he will be out of action between four and six months, Orava has claimed it could be less.

"I've spoken with the medical team and I recommended that Vermaelen has surgery. They'll give me a response in the coming days," the doctor said before Barcelona's official announcement.

"Following the operation he'll be ready to start training in three weeks and he'll be able to play again after three months."

And with Barcelona outcast Alexis Sanchez proving to be a hit at the Emirates, Arsenal seem once again to be the winner from the close business relationship between the both clubs in recent years - since the Catalans paid about £40m to secure Emmanuel Petit and Marc Overmars in 2000.