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Thomas Vermaelen set for Barcelona stay

Thomas Vermaelen set for Barcelona stay

Barcelona boss wants Vermaelen stay
Football Transfer Centre

Belgium international Thomas Vermaelen could stay put at Barcelona for the season with manager Ernesto Valverde prepared to offer him a backup role in the central defensive department.

The 31-year-old has endured an injury hit spell since his move from Arsenal in 2014, and he spent the previous campaign on loan with AS Roma where he played a bit-part role.

Vermaelen had been recently linked with West Bromwich Albion, who are prepared to offer him a regular run in the Premier League, but according to AS, Valverde is content to keep hold of the Belgian's services.

Samuel Umtiti and Gerard Pique appear the first-choice for Valverde at the heart of the backline, and Vermaelen could compete with Javier Mascherano for the role of the deputy.

Vermaelen was a good success during his initial career with Arsenal, but his regular niggles ultimately urged the club to cash in on his signature. The Belgian has two years left on his existing deal with last season's Copa del Rey winners.