The 23-year-old Belgian defender and former captain of Ajax has signed a long-term contract with our club for a fee worth just under £8.5 million (rising to around £10m). Arsenal announced the deal on their website on Friday afternoon (UK time) and have included a factfile of our new signing as well as a host of lovely “holding a shirt posing in front of various locations” photos.
The Arsenal website is due to post a detailed interview with Vermaelen tomorrow but they did post some brief comments from the player regarding his delight at signing for the club. In his own words he said:
“I’m just so happy to be joining Arsenal. This is a great Club with a world class manager, high quality players and a fantastic stadium. Everything is set up for Arsenal to be very successful for years to come and I joined this Club because I know Arsenal will be challenging for trophies.
“I have had a good taste of the Champions League during my time with Ajax and this is something I am looking forward to experiencing again with Arsenal. I’m also looking forward to playing in the English Premier League, which for me, is the best league in the world. Also, I just want to assure the Arsenal fans that I will give everything for this Club and I hope we can enjoy winning some trophies together next season.”
Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger made the following statements about our new signing:
“Thomas is a great signing for Arsenal Football Club, and we are all delighted that he is joining us. Thomas is a solid performer with good experience of Champions League and UEFA Cup football and is also a regular with the Belgium national team.
“Thomas is primarily a left-footed centre back, but he’s multi-functional and can also play at left back. He is strong technically with a positive winner’s attitude and I have no doubt his arrival will strengthen our team. Thomas Vermaelen will be a huge asset to Arsenal.”
I think it’s a very good signing for the club. Wenger has addressed one of the significant weaknesses in the side and, not only that, he’s done it early in the transfer window. By doing so the manager will give Vermaelen every chance of being settled in and completely ready to go by the time the season kicks off, something that cannot be said of many of our recent signings. Having the signing all wrapped up also gives the manager ample time to sign another one or two players before the season starts and I think that bodes very well for next season’s squad.
The fact that he is left-footed will give the centre of our defence some much needed balance and his position as captain of his previous club suggests he is a man who knows how to communicate well and direct things from the back. Plus, he looks damn sharp in a suit and even resembles this man just a bit. It goes without saying that if he plays anywhere near as well then he’s going to a huge success at Arsenal.
It remains to be seen what sort of impact Vermaelen’s signing will have on the other defenders in our squad, but that’s something I’ll touch on a little bit in Monday’s post. For now though, it’s all about our new boy.
Have a lovely Saturday. I’ll be back tomorrow to post Vermaelen’s interview video if nothing else.
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