Vermaelen close, but no cigar

unfortunately van Persie scores here

Bit of a flurry of news today on what the Dutch press are calling the “imminent” transfer of Thomas Vermaelen from Ajax to Arsenal and what the Brit press are calling a done deal.

The original report is from the Belgian, Dutch language, Sport newspaper, HLN. Maybe Setanta translated the page differently but according to Google Translate there is no mention that this is a done deal. It looks like Arsenal and Ajax have agreed to a fee (depending on your reading a fee between £10-12m) and that Vermaelen’s agent is in London negotiating salary.

I wanted to know a bit more about the player and there are some famous photos of Vermaelen and van Persie getting into a bit of a scuffle, so I looked into it and that’s from the 2007 Amsterdam tournament where Arsenal won 1-0 and lost van Persie to injury at the end of the match. You will draw your own conclusions about his ability based on that link, but I’m advising caution. Yes, he was brushed aside rather easily by Eduardo in that video, and yes he’s pretty much directly responsible for van Persie’s goal but that was two years ago and as you can tell from this video he’s beefed up quite a bit.

You can also see from the above video that he’s pretty damn good in the air, beating Gareth Barry and Klaas Jan Huntelaar to the ball.

If Arsene buys him I’m sure he’ll be quality. After all, he is Ajax captain and some of the comments I’m seeing from Ajax fans are that he will be greatly missed.

What isn’t being discussed, so far, is which of the two Arsenal center backs he will replace. If you asked me earlier in the year I would have said Gallas, hands down, but now I’m not so sure. Wenger has spoken glowingly of Gallas since he stripped him of the captaincy and I really do think Cappy is our best defender. Toure, on the other hand, has had a pretty rough season and famously handed in a transfer request because he couldn’t handle whatever was happening in January. Frankly, I think if (and that’s a big if) Wenger gets rid of one of them, it will be Toure.

What’s really strange is that if Toure leaves it will be the latest in a long line of Arsenal defenders who basically had a mental breakdown and left the club at the end of the season (Campbell, Senderos, and now Toure). Being a defender at a big club takes a lot of mental strength, and being a defender at Arsenal, where the tactics constantly expose defenders, must be absolutely maddening.

There really isn’t much more going on, Arsenal are still linked with Edin Dzeko (striker) and Yaya Toure (defensive midfielder). The latter has reportedly rejected a Barcelona contract offer which may give some of you hope but I think is just his agent angling for a bigger contract. Another supposed Arsenal target is Joleon Lescott and between Moyes saying his players aren’t for sale and Manchester City reportedly offering Everton £18m and the player £80,000/wk I’m thinking that Arsene would either have to move a big name player or convince Lescott that a Champions League campaign will increase his England chances.

Well, I guess he could sell Robin van Persie for £25m.


13 Responses to “Vermaelen close, but no cigar”

  1. 1 davi
    June 7, 2009 at 8:24 am

    From the looks of it Id much rather we went for zapata than this guy. He looks strong and Im sure hes a good player but there’s no way he could be dominant enough aerially at around 6 feet tall. That is wat we have been crying out for. Someone who can just win the long ball 9times out of 10.
    Djourou has only a fraction of the experience of toure or gallas but we look so much more solid against the physical sides when he plays in place of one of them.

  2. 2 gooner sems
    June 7, 2009 at 8:25 am

    maybe wenger will keep both tore and gallas and make thomas back up

  3. 3 CaribKid
    June 7, 2009 at 8:31 am

    I don’t have enough info to come up with a Vermaelen conclusion, but if he is signed that just makes our back 4 the shortest in the EPL. It also suggests that Gallas or Toure is gone, but I have no idea which one it will be. If this is the scenario, then we are not upgrading the team but just replacing a player. I would hate to see either Gallas or Toure leave but only time will tell what are the intentions of Le Boss.

    Can’t see Ya Ya leaving Barca after the treble and him establishing himself as the DM fulcrum. If he does leave, it’s going to be for the money and City will be waiting in line with mucho Arab oil vouchers. Still no news yet on whether AC Milan is taking up the Senderos option, but with Maldini leaving it seems more than likely.

  4. 4 Bongo
    June 7, 2009 at 8:32 am

    To be honest, I know very little about this dutch defender so I can’t really be excited or anguished by the supposed move. I think almost anyone would be better than Silvestre though. Personally I think that’s who he should replace. Gallas and Touré are the reason we had such a long unbeaten record in the second half of the season and I believe it was Gallas’ injury (aswell as Denilsons ommitance) that sealed our fate in the cup competitions.

    Djourou needs more match practice and a consistent partnership with someone and I believe he will be good enough to step up when needed. I personally am still of the opinion that we only need an injury free season to challenge for honours but I’m not impatient and I don’t have that inexplicable sense of entitlement that a lot of gooners seem to have. I would gladly trade another season of silverware for some beautiful football and am willing to wait to see this group of youngsters develop into the kind of players/team we all know they will.

  5. 5 wengeritis
    June 7, 2009 at 10:01 am

    I’m from Holland and although I don’t follow Ajax that much (they’re not “my team” in Holland and I’m too busy following the Arsenal anyway) I hope this transfer rumour stays just that: a rumour.
    Vermaelen (who is Belgian by the way, Bongo, not Dutch) is captain of a very poor Ajax side – they lost Sneijder and Huntelaar last year, and it has shown in the dutch league. He probably has some talent that Arsène recognizes (although I read Tony Adams went to see the player and advised against buying him) maybe to be found in the department of the “forward thinking and ability” that Arsenal defenders require and Ajax, traditionally playing a 4-3-3, instills throughout its youth system (Vermaelen came to Ajax at the age of nineteen).
    However, I don’t consider him to be the “finished product” at all, and I’ve never seen Arsenal pay over 10 million for “talent”, especially in the defensive area. Nasri, of course, was purchased last year for about this amount, but forwards tend to be more expensive than defenders, and I regarded Nasri as being further in his development.

    In my opinion, Thomas Vermaelen should replace Silvestre, like Bongo said, but then surely 10-12 million is too much to pay for this guy. He does win a lot of headers, though….

  6. 6 Mia
    June 7, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Can’t comment on Vermaelan but am more than a bit bothered by the Ade situation. Where will he be next season – on walkabout, on strike, or at Chelsea? The third (for a hefty fee) would be my preference as his past behaviour both for the national side and at every single club he’s ever been at doesn’t bode well. Where was he for the final games of this season? Injured? There was no mention of it on the club website, so my guess is he was lurking in Milan, sounding out Ancelotti again. Shame Chelsea won’t be offering the 30 million the Italian papers were talking about last year – and Leonardo won’t want him at all. Still, Chelsea do need a young version of Drogba, so we could be looking at 20 million, wouldn’t you think? If the rumours that we’re considering the Wolfsburg striker are true, could be it’s Ade – not God forbid van Persie – who’s on his way out.

    Looks like Liverpool will be forced to sell Alonso if they want to buy a striker. Perfect. Except for one snag: it’s the kind of deal that could drag on and on while we haggle over the price and fall through at the last minute again. Should we put all our eggs in the Alonso basket or buy a cheap substitute straight away? I’d take a risk on getting Alonso because I think Song is OK defensively, probably as good as that Blaise Thingy at St Etienne anyway, so I don’t see the point of buying second best. But I’d sell Denilson if someone offered a good price.

    • 7 Tim
      June 8, 2009 at 5:40 am

      Mia, first, thanks for the comment. As for the Adebayor situation, Wenger kept saying that Ade had “picked up a knock” ahead of the last few games of the season. Many people felt like it was simply retribution for the interview he gave where he said that Milan’s supposed interest made him happy.

      Adebayor is an interesting example, people either love him or hate him and more people hate him than love him right now. This happened because he was clearly lazy this season. So, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him leave.

      And finally, Liverpool are valuing Alonso at OVER £23m, which means that he’s not coming to Arsenal. As I think I’ve shown here, Denilson is statistically as good if not better than Alonso. So, I think we already have our Alonso. The grass isn’t always greener!

  7. 8 wengeritis
    June 7, 2009 at 11:33 am

    I shouldn’t be too worried about Adebayor.
    Whatever you think of him, he will not be sold “on the cheap” as he has plenty of years left on his contract, ergo if some club (let’s say: AC Milan) will come in with an offer, it will be around 20 million. That’s enough to buy about 2 and a half Eduardo’s….(Dzeko’s…)
    The Alonso deal will not happen: if indeed Liverpool need to sell him to generate funds, they will surely go for the maximum, and thus we will be outbid by Real Madrid, Chelsea, or Manchester City. We don’t need him that badly anyway, despite what you might have read about Cesc saying so.
    If Ade went to a PL-rival, we would likely get a player in return. I’d take Carvalho…..

  8. 9 WC
    June 7, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Well Ajax’s bigger problem last season was scoring when it mattered. They had some goalfest games but in general their defense wasn’t half bad but they never replaced Huntelaar properly and Van Basten had been found out as a mediocre manager. Really I would love both Zapata and Vermaelen to come. Gallas and Toure are both still able players but we need depth and we need to start integrating younger players to be mentored by the older heads. Gallas, Toure and Silvestre are slowly becoming relics and Wenger is starting to build. With Vermaelen alone I don’t think we have the depth we need because Silvestre is such a terrible player and it’s really just Djourou as a back up. Arguably the only reason Vermaelen hasn’t signed yet is due to the flurry of WCQ games and friendlies right now. When that settles down he could quickly agree terms.

    Vermaelen, Dzeko, Zapata, Cana and we’ll take the title – agree?

    • 10 CaribKid
      June 7, 2009 at 1:15 pm

      But the bigger question will be, who is outgoing? Will the new players just be replacements or will they be additions?

      The net transfer effect will answer your hopeful questions.

      The other big question would be, how long doe it take to integrate these players into Arsenal and the EPL for them to be effective acquisitions? I can’t see Arsene acquiring more than 2 players, but even if he goes for 3-4, some need to be from the EPL like Lescott, Haangeland, Corluka, Kompany, etc.

      For me, the key acquisition will be the CDM. If we acquire a monster to partner Cesc with Song as a backup we will have improved tremendously, but if Arsene goes for the Denilson, Song, Ramsey triumvirate, we ill once more have our asses handed to the big boys on a platter.

      Then the other 2 questions marks are Eduardo and Rosicky. Is Arsene willing to gamble they will be meaningful contributors next season. I for one am not a gambling man, especially when the stakes are so high. Hopefully I’m wrong, but my theory is we will enter next season like the last, with quite a few unanswered questions.

  9. June 8, 2009 at 3:47 am

    I agree with that, Adebayor won’t be sold off as fodder, regarding Vermaelan if he does find himself wearing a gunner shirt, then good luck to him.

  10. 12 jd
    June 9, 2009 at 2:00 am

    I think that Vermaelan will be a suitable Arsenal Signing (Wenger knows aht he is doing)

    Other great signings that would see the Gunners reigning supreme again: FELIPE MELO, LUCA TONI, BEN ARFA, ROYSTON DRENTHE.

    Out: Adebayor, Eboue, Silvestre, Senderos, Traore,

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