Barcelona have agreed to send Thomas Vermaelen on loan to AS Roma for the 2016-2017 campaign, after the Belgium international has fallen out of favour with manager Luis Enrique. Arsenal, West Ham and especially Liverpool had been linked with the Belgium international in recent days but the centre-back will instead move to the Seria A giants should he passes his medical.
The 30-year old defender moved to Barcelona in 2014 after the club paid Arsenal €19m (£16.12m) to lure him from the Emirates Stadium. However, he failed to impress during his first two campaigns at the Nou Camp due to a series of injuries.
The La Liga and Copa del Rey Champions decided thus to put him on the market following the arrival of Samuel Umtiti, as Luis Enrique also has Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano and Jeremy Mathieu ahead of him in the defensive pecking order.
Liverpool, West Ham and even Arsenal have since been linked with Vermaelen as it was said that the Barcelona defender wanted to return to the Premier League.
Earlier this week AS claimed that the Belgium international was ready to decide his future in the coming days, having two offers in the table, one from Roma and a further one from a Premier League club, understood to be from Liverpool. Reports in Italy later claimed that Italians were the frontrunners to secure his services after even manager Luciano Spalletti admitted that the Serie A side are seriously considering his signing.
"Vermaelen is a player that we are following," Spalleti said. "We have to assess the risk of (his signing) because in the last two years he has played little. But it is a piece of art that we have been offered and it it's an opportunity that we can exploit."
AS claimed on Saturday evening that the deal is done and could be official in the coming hours. The Spanish publication added that Vermaelen did not play a single minute during the 4-0 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday (6 August) as the club did not want to put his fitness at risk.
Now Barcelona have confirmed that they have given the player permission to travel to the Italian capital to undergo the medical before completing the move.
According to AS, Roma will cover Vermalen's wages and will have an option to make the deal permanent at the end of the season. Barcelona reportedly wanted the option to be mandatory, but the Serie A giants rejected the Catalans' demands.