Ita��s fair to say that ita��s not exactly car-horns and fireworks on the streets of Barcelona at the news that the club are signing Thomas Vermaelen.
a�?Not as good as Mats Hummelsa�? (who they were never likely to get anyway) and not as young as Marquinhos (ultimately far too expensive) summed up the immediate reaction.
This was tempered by the fact that the former Ajax man is a year younger and probably a better option than Liverpoola��s Daniel Agger. But the worst thing about the signing is that he joins from Arsenal.
Never mind an intelligent assessment of how he might fit in, history says Barca shouldna��t be going within 10 buyout clauses of the Gunners after a string of big money acquisitions in recent years.
They did wonders for Arsenala��s accounts and nothing for Barcelonaa��s trophy-winning chances.
In 2000 Arsene Wenger sold Marc Overmars and Emmanuel Petit to the Catalans for a combined A?32m.
Overmars stayed for four trophyless, injury-plagued years. Petit was gone in one season sold back to Chelsea for A?7m.
Gio Van Bronckhorst arrived too and fared far better but he is a blip on the chart.
In 2006 Barcelona wanted Thierry Henry but Wenger made sure they waited a full season and still paid A?16m when they signed him a year later.
Henry at least fared better on the pitch than Overmars and Petit but he still took a year to get going and Arsenal had clearly already long since had the best from him.
Cesc Fabregas was perhaps Wengera��s greatest victory. He signed him for A?500 000 and eight years later sold him back to Barcelona for A?35m.
Fabregas failed to fit back into the club he had left aged 16 and never saw out the five-year contract he signed. At least on this occasion a large part of that original outlay is understood to have been recouped by his a�?undisclosed feea�? signing for Chelsea.
And at least Fabregas and Henry thrilled the Nou Camp scoring goals and winning trophies. The worst a�� or best, from Arsenala��s perspective a�� of business between the two clubs comes by way of Alex Hleb and Alex Song. Hleb signed a four-year deal in 2008 and Barca somewhat optimistically put a A?70m buy-out clause on him. They ended up terminating his contract six months before it was due to expire after he failed to fit in, or persuade any of the clubs he went on loan to a�� Stuttgart, Birmingham City and Wolfsburg a�� that they should pay to sign him.
The club are currently trying to find a new home for Song. After paying A?15m for him in 2012 and giddily announcing that he could also play at centre back he has been largely peripheral a�� not really needed in holding midfield where Barca already have Sergio Busquets and not able to play at the back, despite the billing given in his presentation.
So now ita��s over to Vermaelen. He rejoins former Ajax team-mate Luis Suarez and with his club history should certainly need no period of adaptation. His recent injury record is a concern but if he can overcome that he might be able to turn the tide of disappointing arrivals from Arsenal. He is a least a a�?propera�� central defender, not something Barca have signed for five years. – Reuters