According to reports in Spain, Barcelona is ready to offer a new contract for Thomas Vermaelen.
The Belgian international joined the La Liga giants back in 2014, from Arsenal but has not been able to play regular first-team football at the Camp Nou. Vermaelen has constantly been struggling with injuries, but 16 appearances this season have been enough to prove that he is ready for a new contract at Barcelona, including a brilliant performance against fierce rivals Real Madrid.
The major reason for Vermaelen’s contract extension has been because Barcelona hasn’t lost a La Liga match when he has played for them. The 32-year-old has been rock solid in defense for Ernesto Valverde alongside either Gerard Pique or Samuel Umtiti at centre-back.
Despite making just two appearances since the start of January, the Catalonian’s feel that Vermaelen has done enough to deserve a contract extension. Although the former Arsenal captain still has a year to run out his current deal, the Spanish table toppers are willing to extend his contract for one more year. Vermaelen was immense in the El Classico that Barcelona won 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu as Pique was ruled out of the clash due to suspension.
Vermaelen hasn’t been given too many opportunities to perform as the emergence of Umtiti has kept the Belgian out of the first team. But unlike Javier Mascherano, who was allowed to leave in the winter transfer window, Barcelona are keeping faith in Vermaelen because he is a decent backup option to have at the club. He spent a season on loan with Serie A side AS Roma last season but got injured there as well, as he played only 607 minutes for the whole term before returning to La Blaugrana.
It’s a shame that Vermaelen’s career was plagued with injuries; he had the potential to become renowned as one of the best defenders in Europe following his move to Barcelona. But I view this contract extension as Barcelona are retaining him for back up if Pique or Umtiti suffer injuries or suspensions.