It's that time of year again. As summer starts to fade, and optimism is rife in the psyche of Arsenal fans everywhere regarding the new season which loiters on the horizon, a captain ups and leaves. Following in the footsteps of Robin van Persie, Thierry Henry, William Gallas, and Cesc Fabregas, Vermaelen has had a bid accepted by Arsenal from Barcelona and, pending a medical and personal terms, it's pretty much a dead certainty that his last Premier League game for Arsenal will have been played in a a Nike shirt rather than the snazzy new Puma number.
However, this time, unlike the preceding events, it's not such a big loss for the Gunners. Vermaelen was almost surplus to requirements last season as the BFG Per Mertesacker and French international Laurent Koscielny formed an excellent partnership and understanding resulting in 16 clean sheets last season. Speculation had been growing about a proposed move to Manchester United, especially as Manchester seems to be the place to be for ex-Arsenal players, as Nasri, Sagna, Clichy, Adebayor and the aforementioned van Persie will attest, but Arsene Wenger given the option would obviously prefer to sell his captain to someone who's not a direct rival for the Premiership this season. And, for a player who's not getting game time, £15 million is not a bad sum of money.
For myself, I'm sorry to see Vermaelen leave. In my opinion he could happily have been converted into a defensive midfielder in the style of Flamini, and would have been ideal cover for the defence if there was an injury issue, something which Arsenal are not exactly strangers to. The memory of Vermaelen striding forward and scoring a couple of screamers in his early days at Arsenal are still clear in my memory, and always evoked comparisons of the screamer Tony Adams hit against Everton, back in the last millennium.
Good luck Thomas. I bought my new Arsenal shirt in Barcelona last week. It was overpriced but will serve me well. I hope you do the same for the Catalans.