Thomas Vermaelen

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Thomas Vermaelen
Thomas-vermaelen-3.jpg
Personal information
Full name Thomas Vermaelen[1]
Date of birth (1985-11-14) 14 November 1985 (age 28)
Place of birth Kapellen, Belgium
Height 1.82 m (5 ft 11 12 in)[2]
Playing position Centre back
Club information
Current team
Barcelona
Number 23
Youth career
1991–1999 Germinal Ekeren
1999–2000 Germinal Beerschot
2000–2003 Ajax
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2003–2009 Ajax 99 (8)
2004–2005 RKC Waalwijk (loan) 13 (2)
2009–2014 Arsenal 110 (13)
2014– Barcelona 0 (0)
National team
2002–2003 Belgium U18 5 (0)
2003–2004 Belgium U19 7 (0)
2004–2007 Belgium U21 13 (1)
2008 Belgium U23 5 (0)
2006– Belgium 47 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22:36, 4 May 2014 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Thomas Vermaelen (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈtoː.mɑs vər.ˈmaː.lə(n)]; born 14 November 1985) is a Belgian professional footballer who plays for Spanish club FC Barcelona and the Belgium national football team, as a central defender.

Vermaelen joined the Ajax youth academy in 2000 and won the 2003–04 Eredivisie title in his first season with the club. He had a loan spell with RKC Waalwijk before rejoining Ajax and winning the KNVB Cup and Johan Cruijff Shield. After Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's departure in 2009, he served as club captain for the remainder of the season. He joined Arsenal in 2009 and was included in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year for that season. Following Robin van Persie's transfer to Manchester United in August 2012, he was named club captain but found first team opportunities limited due to the success of Arsenal's new first-choice defensive partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. In August 2014, he completed a £15 million transfer to Barcelona in La Liga.[3]

Being left-footed, he usually plays as a left-sided centre back and can play at left-back as well.[4] His key attributes include aerial ability, leadership skills, and his quickness with the ball at his feet. He is also known for his goalscoring ability as a defender.

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Vermaelen, though quite small for a central defender, started his career in his home country with Germinal Ekeren, which later changed its name to Germinal Beerschot after a merger.

Vermaelen was with Ajax from 2000 – 2009.

Ajax[edit]

Vermaelen joined the academy of Dutch club AFC Ajax. He made his professional debut on 15 February 2004 in a 0–2 away win over FC Volendam.

His breakthrough came when he returned to Ajax and won the KNVB Cup. Performances that season resulted in a call-up to the Belgium national football team. Ajax won the Johan Cruijff Shield and another KNVB Cup the following season and in 2007, they won the Johan Cruijff Shield for the second consecutive time.[5] He forged a partnership with fellow academy graduate John Heitinga and later Jan Vertonghen when Heitinga left for Atlético Madrid in Spain. Following the departure of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in mid-season, Vermaelen served as captain of Ajax for the remainder of the 2008–09 season and he played mostly as a left-back.

Arsenal[edit]

2009–10 season[edit]

Vermaelen (right) in training with Arsenal teammate Andrey Arshavin

Vermaelen joined Arsenal from Ajax for an initial fee of €10 million (rising to €12 million) on 19 June 2009, signing a four-year contract.[6][7] After Kolo Touré surrendered the number 5 jersey to him upon joining Manchester City,[8] Vermaelen, with William Gallas, formed Arsenal's central defence pairing. Vermaelen made his Premier League debut on 15 August 2009 in a 1–6 away win against Everton, and scored in the 37th minute.[9] He became the 84th Arsenal player to score in their debut.[10] He then scored a brace against Wigan Athletic in a 4–0 victory.[11]

Arsenal fans voted him as their Player of the Month twice in a row on Arsenal.com,[12][13] and affectionately nicknamed him the "Verminator."[4] He scored an own goal, however, in a home match against Chelsea when a cross came in from Ashley Cole. The game finished 0–3 to Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium.[14]

He became notable for being a goal scoring defender due to his spectacular 25-yard left footed goal against Blackburn Rovers and many headed goals during the first half of Arsenal's 2009–10 season.[15] In recognition of his contributions, he was nominated for the Belgian Sportsman of the Year award[16] and was also included in the PFA Team of the Season.[17] Vermaelen finished the season with 45 games and eight goals in all competitions under his belt.

Vermaelen and teammates after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scores

2010–11 season[edit]

In the pre-season of the 2010–11 season, Vermaelen captained Arsenal in an Emirates Cup match against Milan with regular captain Cesc Fàbregas and vice-captains Manuel Almunia and Robin van Persie not in the squad.[18] Vermaelen started all of the first three Arsenal matches of the season before suffering an achilles injury on international duty with Belgium.[19]

He had a new injury setback when manager Arsène Wenger reported that the achilles problem would keep him out of action until 2011.[20] On 17 March 2011, Wenger confirmed that Vermaelen would miss the remainder of the season with a new injury setback,[21] but on 26 April, Vermaelen played 90 minutes in his first competitive game after eight months in a reserves game against Manchester United at Old Trafford on 28 April. On 8 May, he was included in Arsenal's 18-man squad travelling to Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium; Vermaelen, however, was an unused sub, but on 15 May, he finally returned in Arsenal's 2–1 defeat to Aston Villa and played the full 90 minutes.

2011–12 season[edit]

Following Cesc Fàbregas' transfer to FC Barcelona in August 2011, Vermaelen was named vice-captain of Arsenal, with Robin van Persie named captain.[22] On 6 September 2011, he had treatment on his Achilles tendon, which ruled Vermaelan out for six weeks. On 18 October 2011, he signed a contract extension to keep him at the club for an additional four years. He made his long-awaited return against Bolton Wanderers in the fourth round of the Football League Cup, where he captained the side to a 2–1 victory at the Emirates Stadium. He suffered a suspected calf injury in the 84th minute, but to Arsenal's relief, he stated in the post-match interview it was just a cramp. On 1 November, Vermaelen started his first UEFA Champions League game in three months against Olympique de Marseille and played a key role in helping keep a clean sheet for the Gunners in which the game ended 0–0.

Vermaelen scored Arsenal's second goal in their 3–0 win over West Bromwich Albion on 5 November. He also featured in the 1–1 draw with Fulham on 26 November, when he scored a 65th minute own-goal but salvaged a point with an 82nd minute equaliser for Arsenal. On 3 December, Vermaelen scored the second goal against Wigan Athletic to win the match 4–0.[23] On 12 March 2012, Vermaelen scored the winner in the 95th minute against Newcastle United. He had run the entire length of the pitch to score a half-volley from Theo Walcott's cross. In the following game, he converted a Robin van Persie corner, heading home Arsenal's only goal in a 0–1 victory over Everton at Goodison Park. On 16 April 2012, he headed home a Tomáš Rosický cross against Wigan Athletic to reduce the deficit to 1–2, with Wigan having taken a two-goal lead at the Emirates. The scoreline, however, finished the same. Manager Arsène Wenger has called him a defensive rock and his partnership with Laurent Koscielny is strong, enabling Arsenal to build from the back.

2012–13 season[edit]

In August 2012, Vermaelen was announced as Arsenal's new captain, replacing Robin van Persie upon his departure to Manchester United.[24]

On 11 December 2012, Vermaelen missed the deciding penalty kick in Arsenal's shoot-out defeat against League Two side Bradford City in the League Cup, his shot striking the post. Vermaelen had scored Arsenal's equalising goal within normal time of the same match.[25] Consistently poor performances followed for Vermaelen, however, most notably against Manchester City and Liverpool.

His performances forced Arsène Wenger to drop Vermaelen for the pivotal Champions League game against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. Arsenal won 0–2, although it was not enough to progress to the next round through aggregate, but they were the first team to prevent Bayern from scoring that season, thanks to an assured performance from the defence and reserve goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański.[26] Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny continued to partner each other at centre back for the following games, until the former's red card against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns on 6 April 2013 gave Vermaelen a chance to reinstate himself in the team. Arsenal held on for a 1–2 win. Due to Mertesacker's suspension, Vermaelen partnered Koscielny for the game against Norwich City on 13 April, with Arsenal winning 3–1.

2013–14 season[edit]

On 17 May 2014, Vermaelen won his only trophy with Arsenal as an unused substitute in the team's 3–2 win over Hull City in the 2014 FA Cup Final.

Barcelona[edit]

On 9 August 2014, after Manchester United ended their interest in Vermaelen,[27] Arsenal accepted a £15 million offer from FC Barcelona.[28] The next day, he completed his move after signing a five-year contract.[29][30]

International career[edit]

A former youth international, Vermaelen had participated in the U-19 Championships and the 2007 U-21 European Championships. He made his senior debut for Belgium at age 20 against Luxembourg in March 2006. On 8 October 2009, he was named Belgium captain[31] prior to the games against Turkey and Estonia in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers but could not prevent the Belgians from finishing fourth in their group. He was recalled to squad for 14 November friendly against Hungary and scored his first goal for his country by tapping in an Eden Hazard cross.

On 13 May 2014, Vermaelen was named in Belgium's squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[32] After spending Belgium's first match of the tournament, a 2–1 win against Algeria, on the bench,[33] Vermaelen was chosen to start in the second match against Russia, replacing Jan Vertonghen at left back.[34] However, after 31 minutes, Vermaelen was taken off with an injury and replaced by Vertonghen.[34]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of 4 May 2014.[35]
Club Season League Cup[36] Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Ajax 2003–04 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Waalwijk (loan) 2004–05 13 2 1 0 0 0 14 2
Ajax 2005–06 24 3 8 1 5 0 37 4
2006–07 23 0 10 0 7 0 40 0
2007–08 20 1 1 0 3 0 24 1
2008–09 31 4 2 0 9 1 42 5
Ajax Total 99 8 21 1 24 1 144 10
Arsenal 2009–10 33 7 1 0 11 1 45 8
2010–11 5 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
2011–12 29 6 4 0 7 0 40 6
2012–13 29 0 3 1 7 0 39 1
2013–14 14 0 5 0 2 0 21 0
Total 110 13 13 1 27 1 150 15
Barcelona 2014–15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Career total 222 23 35 2 51 2 308 27

International appearances[edit]

As of 4 June 2014.
Belgium national football team
Year Apps Goals
2006 6 0
2007 5 0
2008 5 0
2009 11 1
2010 4 0
2011 2 0
2012 7 0
2013 6 0
2014 1 0
Total 47 1

International goals[edit]

Score and Result lists Belgium's goals first.[37]

Honours[edit]

Vermaelen (left) with Jan Vertonghen at Ajax

Club[edit]

Ajax
Arsenal

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil: List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. 11 June 2014. p. 4. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "Factfile: Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen". Arsenal. Retrieved 19 June 2009. 
  3. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen: Barcelona to sign Arsenal defender on Sunday". BBC. 9 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  4. ^ a b White, Duncan (24 October 2009). "Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen earns himself 'Verminator' nickname". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 28 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "VZ: De transferobjecten van de Eredivisie". Voetbalzone.nl. Voetbalzone. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  6. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen joins Arsenal". Ajax.nl. Ajax. 19 June 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2009. 
  7. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen completes move to Arsenal". Arsenal.com. Arsenal. 19 June 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2009. 
  8. ^ Hytner, David (20 August 2009). "Thomas Vermaelen's seamless transition augurs well for Arsenal's defence". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  9. ^ Dawkes, Phil (15 August 2009). "Everton 1–6 Arsenal". BBC News. Retrieved 16 August 2009. 
  10. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen is 84th debut goalscorer". Arsneal.com. Arsenal. 17 August 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  11. ^ Dawkes, Phil (19 September 2009). "Arsenal 4–0 Wigan". BBC News. 
  12. ^ "Vermaelen is EA SPORTS Player of the Month!". Arsenal.com. Arsenal. 10 September 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  13. ^ "Vermaelen is EA SPORTS Player of the Month!". Arsenal.com. Arsenal. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 
  14. ^ "Arsenal 0–3 Chelsea". BBC News. 29 November 2009. 
  15. ^ Bellwood, Tom (5 October 2009). "When defenders attack – Arsenal star Thomas Vermaelen follows Steve Bruce, Joleon Lescott, Stuart Pearce and more as unlikely goal heroes". Daily Mail (London). 
  16. ^ "65 nominés pour les 4 plus prestigieux prix du sport" (in French). lalibre.be. 9 November 2009. 
  17. ^ Bellwood, Tom (May 2010). "Wayne Rooney leads the charge as Manchester United dominate PFA Team of the Year". Daily Mail (London). 
  18. ^ Grant Wilson (31 July 2010). "Arsenal Defender Thomas Vermaelen Impressed With New Defensive Partner Laurent Koscielny". Goal.com. Retrieved 31 July 2010. 
  19. ^ http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/diaby-and-vermaelen-out-for-braga-clash
  20. ^ "Vermaelen blow rocks Gunners". The Sun (London). 6 December 2010. 
  21. ^ "Vermaelen out for the season". news (internet). 17 March 2011. 
  22. ^ Arsenal F.C. (16 August 2011). "van Persie appointed as Arsenal captain". Arsenal.com. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  23. ^ "Vermaelen scores at both ends in draw". ESPN Soccernet. 26 November 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  24. ^ "Vermaelen – I'm so proud to be captain". arsenal.com. 17 August 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  25. ^ "Bradford 1–1 Arsenal (3–2 pens)". BBC Sport. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  26. ^ "Bayern Munich 0-2 Arsenal". BBC Sport. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  27. ^ "United end Vermaelen interest after refusing swap". Manchester Evening News. 9 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  28. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen: Arsenal agree £15m fee with Barcelona". BBC Sport. 10 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  29. ^ "Agreement for Thomas Vermaelen to join FC Barcelona". FC Barcelona. 10 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  30. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen: Barcelona seal move for Arsenal defender". BBC Sport. 10 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  31. ^ "Vermaelen is de nieuwe kapitein van de Rode Duivels". De Morgen Voetbal (in Dutch). 8 October 2009. 
  32. ^ "Adnan Januzaj included in Belgium's World Cup squad". BBC Sport. 13 May 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  33. ^ Chowdhury, Saj (17 June 2014). "Belgium 2-1 Algeria". BBC Sport. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  34. ^ a b "Brazil v Russia". BBC. 22 June 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  35. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen". Soccerbase. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  36. ^ Includes FA Cup and League Cup.
  37. ^ "Thomas Vermaelen". Soccerway. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
Ajax captain
2009
Succeeded by
Luis Suárez
Preceded by
Robin van Persie
Arsenal captain
2012–2014
Succeeded by
Mikel Arteta