Out-of-favour Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen has completed his loan move to AS Roma for the 2016-2017 campaign, the clubs have confirmed. The former Arsenal defender had been linked with West Ham and Liverpool in recent days, as he was reportedly likely to return to the Premier League, but has finally opted to continue his career in the Serie A.
The Belgium international becomes the eighth player to quit the Nou Camp during the current mercato, following in the footsteps of Dani Alves, Martin Montoya, Alex Song, Sandro Ramirez, Marc Bartra, Adriano and Alen Halilovic.
Yet, the former Arsenal defender is the first to leave on loan as Alves, Montoya, Song and Sandro left as free-agents while the other three moved to Borussia Dortmund, Besiktas and Hamburg respectively in permanent transfers, although Barcelona keep an buy-back option over the Croatian starlet.
On Saturday (7 Agust) the La Liga giants already announced that they had given Vermaelen the green-light to travel to Italy to undergo the medical before completing the loan move to Roma.
Now Barcelona have confirmed the transfer has been completed after the clubs agreed a deal for the Belgian to spend the 2016-2017 campaign on loan at the Serie A, with Roma keeping an option to secure his services on permanent basis at the end of the season.
"FC Barcelona and AS Roma have reached an agreement for the loan of Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen for the 2016/17 season," the La Liga giants confirmed. "The Italian club contractually agrees that the participation of the player remains active during the loan. The agreement includes an option for Roma to buy the player at the end of the 2016/17 season."
Barcelona signed Vermalen from Arsenal in the summer of 2014 for around €19m with hopes for him to fill the gap left by Carles Puyol's retirement. However, his career at the Nou Camp was hindered by recurrent injuries and, earlier in the summer, he was deemed surplus to requirements by Luis Enrique. The club signed France international Samuel Umtiti to replace him and complete the heart of the back-line alongside Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano and Jeremy Mathieu.
West Ham and Liverpool have been since linked to him but the the 30-year-old defender will finally continue his career at Roma, where he is expected to fight for his place in the line-up with Federico Fazio, after the Tottenham Hotspur flop also agreed a loan move to the Giallorossi last week.