In what seems to be a surprising development, two former Arsenal captains Robin Van Persie and Thomas Vermaelen who left the club four seasons and two seasons ago respectively have been put for sale in the transfer market by their current clubs Fenerbahce S.K. and FC Barcelona and shockingly both of them have been linked wth a return to the Emirates stadium this summer.
The former of the two left the Gunners to join Premier League rivals Manchester United for a reported fee of £24m just before the 2012/13 season began. The 32-year old Dutch striker refused to sign a new contract with Arsenal having just one year remaining on his previous contract.
He was adamant on leaving Arsenal after the 2011/12 season as he felt his ideas for the team didn’t match with that of club manager Arsene Wenger and thus the French manager eventually decided to sell him and make a profit which he could use to buy other players rather than allowing him to run through his last contract and leave on a free transfer.
After Ferguson left Van Persie had a tough time under both David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal. Hence he was sold to Turkish club Fenerbahce where he enjoyed a somewhat decent 2015/16 season. However, this summer transfer window Van Persie has been linked with a host of new clubs including the Gunners. Though Arsenal’s fellow PL clubs like Stoke City and Middlesbrough along with Scottish champions Ranger emerge as front runners to sign the 32-year old striker according to a report from Football Insider, an Arsenal move still seems to be on the cards. He will be sold by Fenerbahce for a bid around £7.5m.
On the other hand, the latter of the two former captains and Van Persie’s immediate successor Thomas Vermaelen looks set to leave Catalan giants FC Barcelona after two seasons at the club. The 30-year old Belgian centre-back joined Barcelona in August 2014 after being pushed down the pecking order in central defense by German CB Per Mertesacker and French CB Laurent Koscielny.
He was tried out at left-back for a while and eventually ended up being a non-playing captain in our 2013/14 season’s FA cup triumph. And hence due to lack of game time at Arsenal, Vermaelen moved to Spain after a £15m move and joined Barca’s new Spanish manager Luis Enrique’s squad.
The 30-year old was part of Belgian manager Marc Wilmot’s Euro 2016 squad. He went on to play all 360 minutes of Belgium’s campaign up until the round of 16 and was suspended for the quarter-final against Wales due to an accumulation of two yellow cards in the tournament. Belgium exited Euro 2016 after losing 1-3 in the quarter-final against Wales.
Vermaelen played an important part in central defense as he covered up perfectly for national team captain Vincent Kompany’s absence due to a torn thigh muscle & groin damage and put up some impressive performances throughout the tournament. His absence in the last 8 fixture was deemed as an important reason for Belgium’s untimely Euro 2016 exit.
Now with his Barca future hanging in the balance it would wise enough for Vermaelen to move to new pastures in order to get proper and regular first team football. Yet again here, Arsenal’s fellow Premier League teams Liverpool FC & West Ham United along with Italian Serie A team AS Roma seem to be the frontrunners in securing his services according to Express.co.uk after the Gunners reportedly refused to have any intention of bringing back Vermaelen to the Emirates. But in football you never know with such an inflated transfer market nowadays, Wenger might end up signing the former club captain in the future as he will be available for just around £10m.
With a striker and center back being the need of the hour for the North London club, sealing deals for two former captains for just under £20m won’t be a bad move at all honestly speaking considering that we buy yet another quality player. Hence last year’s runner-up Arsenal have to step up their game in the transfer market this summer in order to attain Premier League glory this season.