West Bromwich Albion were one of the most consistent sides in the mid-table of the Premier League as they managed to finish in the 10th place in the points table, accumulating more points than they ever did in the top flight. A lot of credit has to go to Tony Pulis, who is now busy trying to make sure that his side is equipped enough to repeat the feat next season.
The manager has lost a part of his back line this summer and is now desperate to find defenders who can walk into the team next season and the latest name linked with a move to the club is Barcelona’s Thomas Vermaelen.
English news outfit Sky Sports have today revealed that Tony Pulis is keen on his services and is ready to do what it takes to land him this summer. Also wanted by Crystal Palace and Watford this summer, the Belgian international is unlikely to be in the plans of Ernesto Valverde at the Camp Nou, and with just two years left on his contract, it might be the perfect time for the Spanish side to get rid of him this summer.
Vermaelen and his career
Having announced himself at the international stage in Netherlands with Ajax, the 31-year old joined Premier League outfit Arsenal back in 2009 and was an integral part of the club’s backline for the next three to four years. He made 110 league appearances, establishing himself as a world class defender, which earned him a move to the Camp Nou in 2014.
However, a couple of injuries plagued seasons saw him make just 11 La Liga appearances, before being loaned out to Italian outfit AS Roma, to help him get back to shape. But Vermaelen only managed nine Serie A appearances and is not expected to play a regular role at Camp Nou either, coming back from the loan stint in Italy. So a move back to the Premier League seems the best option for the player at the moment.
What will he add to the squad?
At 31, Vermaelen is one of the most experienced defenders around in Europe at the moment. Though not the first choice for his national side anymore, the Barcelona man has 58 appearances to his name for the Belgian side and is an established centre-back in the top flight.
Known for his dominating presence in the box, Vermaelen is almost unbeatable in the air while his strength allows him to be a beast even with the ball at his feet. He loves to bully the opposition striker and is not a player many strikers will want to face.
He can be astute and in the system under Tony Pulis and though he still has to work on his injury issues, is a stellar addition to the squad. Gareth McAuley has now turned 37 while Jonny Evans is 29. The duo wove a great partnership at the back last season and adding Vermaelen only makes them stronger.
But do you think West Brom should avoid Vermaelen and all his previous English experience, to keep away from his injury history?