Thomas Vermaelen is likely to return to Arsenal only two seasons after leaving the club to join Barcelona, according to Sport. The Spanish publication claims that the Belgium centre-back is waiting for Arsene Wenger to make the move to lure him back to the Emirates Stadium and has thus put the interest from West Ham in securing his services on hold.
The 30-year-old's future at the Nou Camp look all but over after earlier this week the La Liga giants announced the signing of Samuel Umtiti from Lyon. Having also Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano and Jeremy Mathieu to cover the position, the club have urged Vermaelen to find a new club where he can secure more regular playing.
Vermaelen has struggled to make the impact expected during his two seasons at Barcelona due to a series of injuries but, in contrast, he enjoyed a productive European Championship with Belgium.
This way Sport recently claimed that Barcelona were ready to take advantage of the situation to demand €12 million (£10m, $13.3m) for his services, having paid around €19m to Arsenal in the summer of 2014.
The Spanish publication claimed that Roma had been the first to make a formal offer for his services but Barcelona turned it down immediately as it didn't match their demands. Furthermore, they added that Vermaelen would rather to move to the Premier League after having being approached by West Ham.
The reporter added that Barcelona were consequently waiting for the Hammers to make a formal bid to complete the move − as Slaven Bilic is looking for someone to replace James Tomkins.
Now Sport reports that in the last hours the Hammers have stepped up that interest to move to sign the Barcelona defender. However, the player has put the move on hold as he is still hopeful of receiving a call from Wenger to return to Arsenal instead.
One way or another it looks sure that Vermaelen will be leaving Barcelona during the current transfer window and a return to the Premier League is his most likely option.