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Thomas Vermaelen
Thomas Vermaelen

Former Arsenal And Barcelona Defender, Vermaelen, Joins Vissel Kobe In Japan

Austin Papi

Former Arsenal and Belgian defender, Thomas Vermaelen, has put an end to his disappointing five-year spell at Barcelona, as he joins Vissel Kobe on a two-year deal that runs till December 2021. The 33-year-old center-back has an injury-prone career which has led to inconsistent performances and long spells on the sidelines.

The Belgian defender made just 53 appearances in all competitions in four seasons in Catalunya, spending only 2016-17 campaign on loan at Serie A club side, Roma, and playing just 12 games for them.

He will be welcomed in Vissel, as he is set to link up with former Barca teammates, Andres Iniesta and Sergi Samper, ex-Blaugrana man, David Villa, and one-time Arsenal cohort, Lukas Podolski. Many familiar faces will play along with him, as he hopes to wind down his career in Japan.

Vissel Kobe is a top club in the Japanese JPLeague side, and Vermaelen has been pushed further down the pecking order for a center-back slot alongside veteran, Gerard Pique, by the contract renewal of French defender, Samuel Umtiti, and signing of Clement Lenglet.

He had a more successful stint at Arsenal, making 150 appearances, winning the English FA Cup and registering 15 goals for the gunners. He took the captain's armband in 2012 before injuries haunted him. He finally fell out of favour, which led to his departure from the English Premier League in 2014.