Reactions continue to trail Thomas Vermaelen’s Arsenal exit and fans around the world have had a lot to say, with the majority of them somewhat satisfied with the fact that the former captain did not sign for Manchester United, the Gunners’ English Premier League rivals and signed for Barcelona instead. Meanwhile, Arsenal’s all time second highest goal scorer behind Thierry Henry, Ian Wright has expressed his disappointment at the departure of former club Captain, Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona and wasn’t satisfied with the way Arsenal handled the issue even though recognizing the player’s desire to leave. Speaking to BBC 5 Live, he revealed that he tweeted at Thomas, saying it’s a pity he did not stay and fight it out at the Emirates because he is a great player when he’s fit and a player Arsenal could do with.
Ian Wright however identifies with the new wave of development going on in the club by saying: ‘‘When you look at Arsenal now with the squad they are trying to assemble, with the noises coming out of Arsenal’s boardroom, Gazidis, Wenger, Usmanov and everything, makes you realize something is happening.’’ . He went on to acknowledge the visible change going on at the Emirates but said he would have loved a player of Vermaelen’s calibre just stay and fight it out. The Arsenal Legend said though that going to Barcelona was a great move for him because the Catalan giants are hard to turn down, and wished the Belgian good luck.
Wright’s frustration is very understandable and stems out of the passion for success. His points about Vermaelen fighting it out with Mertersacker and Koscielny could only have been viewed from a supporter’s eye considering the circumstance. Vermaelen is no doubt a strong and brilliant defender in the mould of compatriot Vincent Kompany but his national team playing time reduced drastically as a result of his Arsenal dip in form. He probably only qualified to be named in the 23-man squad for Belgium’s 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign in Brazil, based on quality, experience and past achievements. His inclusion could not have possibly been based on merit and top form. For a player approaching 30 years of age, this type of frustration requires a lot of psychological and mental strength to overcome. He proved to be a natural leader by demonstrating such calmness in the midst of the stormy weather by never complaining about lack of play time and working as hard as anyone in the team. It may be a positive thing for the team in general, but for him as an individual, the most sensible of all his available options was exactly what he did.
Barcelona who just recently saw their captain and centre back, Carles Puyol, reluctantly retiring from football with series of nagging knee injuries, desires to have a dependable defender to fill the centre back position in a bid to strengthen their back line against the assault of Spanish La Liga attackers. This summer, Barcelona FC has added to their squad by bringing in Luis Suarez from Liverpool, Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia, Ivan Rakitic from Sevilla and a defensive strength to their squad with this Vermaelen deal, which would see the 28-year-old player walk in to stabilize a depleted defence. The opportunity of first team and regular football which was provided by Barcelona to Vermaelen couldn’t have come at a better time for the former Ajax Amsterdam Captain and Belgium International.
Good Luck Thomas Vermaelen!