Following the signing of Tottenham central defender Federico Fazio earlier in the week, it appears as though Roma are making significant inroads with another central defender, Barcelona’s perpetually injured Belgian Thomas Vermaelen. With time running short before Roma’s Champions League playoff match against Porto, Walter Sabatini’s back is against the wall as he attempts to patch up his club’s defense.
Jonas gave us the low down on Vermaelen yesterday, so we’ll keep it somewhat brief. In sum, Vermaelen has agreed to move to Roma, though we don’t know if he’s actually agree to personal terms with the club, but all that stands between Vermaelen and his new club is a matter of €2 million.
While Barcelona appear willing to loan Vermaelen to Roma, it’s that pesky buyout clause that’s holding up this deal. Where Roma wants to pay €10 million (€2 million + €8 million), Barca is reportedly holding out for €12 million.
Nevertheless, Luciano Spalletti admitted earlier today that the club was in advanced negotiations for Vermaelen, and was effusive in his praise for the Belgian, calling him a player with experience and quality, one who is adept at building play from the back, a key component to Spalletti football.
No matter how much Roma ultimately pays for Vermaelen, this is sure to be a controversial move given his age and injury history. While he turned in an incident-free Euro 2016 campaign, the past few seasons have been anything but. Due to a variety of maladies, Vermaelen has eclipsed 20 appearances only once in the past four seasons and managed only 13 appearances in all competitions for Barca this past season.
Still, as we alluded to yesterday, the talent, the versatility and the character have always been there. Given his skillset, if he can turn in even 20 appearances for Roma, it could be a boon to their defense, particularly while Antonio Rüdiger remains sidelined.
So, what do we think, is €10 to €12 million too much for Vermaelen?