The Catalan giants see themselves suffering a serious depth issue when it comes to their defenders but Thomas Vermaelen has promised to step-up.
The Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen was not the first-choice centre back for the biggest encounter in Spain- the El Clasico. An injured Umtiti and an ailing Mascherano was the reason that the Belgian was forced into the playing XI. However, to the much surprise of the fans at Camp Nou, the Belgian defender played well.
It was the performance that Vermaelen was giving week-in and out whenever he was fit to play for Arsenal before Barcelona came calling. Barcelona signed the Arsenal man for a sum of 15 million euros back in 2014. However, various injuries meant that the defender was not a regular at Camp Nou, while Umiti who came in after him became a regular. Further, the Belgian man was shipped off on loan to Roma last year.
Even on loan at Roma, Vermaelen did not get many opportunities with injuries being a huge factor. However, the defender now looks fitter than ever while playing three consecutive games for the Catalan side.
Vermaelen opens up about his past:
Valverde: "Vermaelen ? He trains very hard, he's good with ball, he battles for loose balls, he's a tough central defender, he's strong, fast & nobody has any doubts about him. He's an example of what it means to be a great player."
— Barca Galaxy (@barcagalaxy) December 23, 2017
“I understand that people had doubts about my physical condition because in recent years I have had a few physical problems,” he told Mundo Deportivo. “But since November 2016 I have not had any more problems and I’ve been feeling good for a year. I know I have a reputation as a player made of glass, but I have managed to overcome that,” he added.
Vermaelen’s display in the recent weeks has been particularly impressive as Barcelona needed the solidarity against the attack mindedness of Valencia and Real Madrid. Not only did the Belgian show his strength, but also proved what he could do off at Camp Nou while Ernesto Valverde embraced.
“I knew I had the ability to play for Barca but in previous years, due to injuries, I had not been able to show what I am capable of,” he concluded.
It is true that Vermaelen has been one of the more experienced players at Camp Nou, with only Mascherano more experienced at the back. The Belgian defender has been the quite the revelation under the new coach and is looking more fit than ever for the Spanish giants.
However, it is said to be done that the Belgian would be the fourth choice defender for the club despite his great performance in the recent weeks. Valverde has one man, who he could trust to put up the right-foot on track when the team requires.