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Barcelona to sign Arsenal defender on Sunday

The La Liga club released a statement  on Saturday saying they had reached an agreement to sign Vermaelen, and the 28-year-old had passed a medical. Vermaelen joined Arsenal from Ajax for £10m in 2009 and made 150 appearances. "Thomas Vermaelen is a natural leader who has captained both Ajax and Arsenal," said Barcelona's statement. "He plays at centre-back, and as well as having an impressive physique he is excellent with the ball at his feet and reads the game well." Vermaelen will sign his contract on Sunday before being officially presented as the Catalan club's player at a news conference. He was a target for Manchester United but they ended their interest after refusing Arsenal's demand to receive a player as part of the deal. Vermaelen was troubled by a series of injuries and lost his place at centre-back last season as Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger favoured Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. His form and fitness meant he made just 21 appearances in all competitions last term and Wenger admitted this week that the player needed to move on. Vermaelen becomes Barca's second centre-back signing this summer after Valencia's Jeremy Mathieu, their first recruit in that position since 2009.

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