Updates from Tuesday, Dec. 2
First team player Thomas Vermaelen successfully underwent surgery this Wednesday on the semitendinosus muscle in his right hamstring. The operation was performed in Finland by Dr Sakari Orava and the recovery period is estimated at approximately four months
Updates from Saturday, Nov. 28
Luis Enrique talked about Thomas Vermaelen's status, according to Barca Stuff:
Luis Enrique: "Vermaelen? Injuries are part of football. Operation is the best solution. He'll be back soon. I don't plan to sign anyone."— barcastuff (@barcastuff) November 29, 2014
Updates from Thursday, Nov. 27
Barcelona announced Thomas Vermaelen will undergo surgery Tuesday performed by Dr. Sakari Orava:
First team footballer Thomas Vermaelen will undergo surgery on his right semitendinosus muscle by doctor Sakari Orava next Tuesday in Finland. The estimated recovery time is 4 to 6 months.
Updates from Wednesday, Nov. 26
Thomas Vermaelen is facing a potential five-month absence after Spanish news outlets claimed he has opted for surgery on his hamstring injury.
Sport delivered the news, via 101 Great Goals:
Sport suggest that it was Vermaelen’s decision to undergo the surgery so that he has a definitive solution and will finally be over the injury issues that have dogged him over the past few seasons.
The Catalan paper are so certain of Vermaelen’s upcoming operation that they suggest Sakari Orava will be the doctor who will operate on the Barcelona defender.
Updates from Monday, Nov. 24
Tim Hanlon of the Daily Mail, via Reuters, provides a statement from sports director Andoni Zubizarreta discussing Thomas Vermaelen's injury status:
We don't know if Vermaelen is now going to need surgery, we are studying the situation.
We are worried for him and the medical staff are evaluating what is best.
Updates from Sunday, Nov. 23
Thomas Vermaelen's incredible run of injuries appears to have added a new chapter after AS claimed the Barcelona defender had suffered a new setback.
The Spanish news source tweeted the following on Vermaelen's availability:
Vermaelen has another knock and is out of the game in Cyprus against APOEL. Iniesta is the only other player sidelined for the trip.— SPORT English (@Sport_EN) November 23, 2014
Updates from Monday, Nov. 17
AS updated Thomas Vermaelen's status as he tries to return from a hamstring injury:
Good news Barça fans: Thomas Vermaelen has started training with the rest of his Nou Camp team-mates.— AS English (@English_AS) November 17, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, Nov. 12
Marca reported the latest on Thomas Vermaelen's status as he tries to recover from a hamstring injury:
Alarms bell were raised after recent news pointed to him possibly having to undergo surgery for an on-going hamstring injury.
For that reason, Belgium boss, Marc Wilmots plans to visit Barcelona as soon as this November's international break is over to interview the player and Barça's medical team to discuss his injury.
Updates from Monday, Nov. 3
Thomas Vermaelen is once again absent as Barcelona prepare to meet Ajax in the Champions League.
Barca's official website provided the latest:
The Barça squad has been announced for the trip to Amsterdam for the Champions League game with Ajax on Wednesday (8.45 PM CET). It reads as follows: Ter Stegen, C. Bravo, Masip, Montoya, Piqué, Rakitic, Sergio, Xavi, Pedro, Suárez, Messi, Neymar Jr, Rafinha, Mascherano, Bartra, Douglas, Jordi Alba, Adriano, Dani Alves and Munir.
All of Iniesta, Mathieu, Vermaelen and Sergi Roberto miss out through injury.
Updates from Tuesday, Oct. 28
Luis Enrique has confessed Thomas Vermaelen's lack of fitness due to a hamstring problem since arriving at Barcelona has been a big disappointment.
Sport's Samuel Marsden quotes the Barca boss saying:
Luis Enrique: "Yeh... Thomas Vermaelen's recovery hasn't gone as we expected." Nearly November & still not near a Barça debut.— Samuel Marsden (@samuelmarsden) October 28, 2014
Updates from Saturday, Sept. 27
Piqué, Douglas, Jordi Alba and Vermaelen all miss out, as do the injured Rafinha and Masip
Updates from Friday, Sept. 26
Luis Enrique has hinted that Barcelona's weekend clash with Granada will come too soon for Thomas Vermaelen.
Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC provides the latest:
Vermaelen possibly not ready to come in and make his debut just yet, suggesting Luis Enrique.— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) September 26, 2014
Updates from Thursday, Sept. 25
Thomas Vermaelen is in line for his Barcelona debut when the La Liga giants face Granada this weekend.
Sam Marsden of Sport tweeted the latest:
Vermaelen passed fit and is available for Granada game at Camp Nou on Saturday.— Samuel Marsden (@samuelmarsden) September 25, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, Sept. 24
Thomas Vermaelen stepped up his bid for full fitness by taking part in Barca B's clash with Indonesia U19s on Wednesday.
Sport tweeted news of his involvement, while ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan confirmed it was a successful outing for the Belgian:
Suarez and Vermaelen start for Barça B against Indonesia U19s pic.twitter.com/jTqemHdVqy— SPORT English (@Sport_EN) September 24, 2014
Barca 1-0 up v Indonesian U-19s already... and its new signing Thomas Vermaelen who heads in a right wing cross.— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) September 24, 2014
Vermaelen is, however, missing once again from the full Barcelona squad as they travel to meet Malaga.
Barca's official website reported on a list of absentees:
(Dani) Alves and (Jeremy) Mathieu have both been omitted from the squad, whilst the injured Rafinha, Masip and Vermaelen, as well as the suspended Luis Suárez also miss out.
Updates from Saturday, Sept. 20
Barcelona tweeted a photo of Vermaelen at practice:
Barca Stuff tweeted a quote on the defender from manager Luis Enrique:
Luis Enrique: "Vermaelen? He's better every day. He was injured a lot last season, will take some time to catch the rhythm. He'll help us."— barcastuff (@barcastuff) September 20, 2014
Updates from Thursday, Sept. 18
Thomas Vermaelen is awaiting the green light to make his Barcelona debut after he took part in training on Thursday.
Barca tweeted the following update:
Updates from Wednesday, Sept. 17
Thomas Vermaelen's wait for a Barcelona debut goes on after the club confirmed he will play no part in Wednesday's Champions League clash with APOEL FC.
A Barca statement on their official website reads:
Luis Enrique and his staff have opted to leave out Montoya, Busquets, Pedro, Mascherano and Jordi Alba, while the injured Vermaelen will also sit the game out.
Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 26
Thomas Vermaelen is closing in on his Barcelona debut after he worked at the club's training ground on Tuesday.
Barca's official website gave the following update on Vermaelen's hamstring problem:
The FC Barcelona senior squad were back in action today after taking a day off following the 3-0 defeat of Elche. Manager Luis Enrique Martínez took charge of today’s session with a group of 23 players.
Ter Stegen, Neymar and Vermaelen made a welcome appearance on the training grounds but worked out separately from the main group.
Updates from Monday, Aug. 18
Thomas Vermaelen is officially out of Monday's Gamper Trophy clash with Leon as he continues to recover from a hamstring issue.
Barcelona's official website confirmed:
The squad will be presented to the fans at about half past seven, with new boss Luis Enrique just one more new face for the fans to greet, along with summer signings. Bravo, Masip, Ter Stegen, Mathieu, Vermaelen, Rafinha, Rakitic and Luis Suárez, who will be making his first appearance in a Barça shirt after re-joining the squad for training last Friday.
Five of those new players -Bravo, Masip, Mathieu, Rakitic and Luis Suárez-, could make their Camp Nou debuts as Barça players against Leon, whilst the injured Ter Stegen and Vermaelen will have to wait.
Updates from Friday, Aug. 15
Thomas Vermaelen is expected to be sidelined for the next two weeks, according to Spanish publication AS.
A timeline had not been given for Vermaelen's recovery from a hamstring problem, but AS briefly reports:
New boy Thomas Vermaelen also trained away from the group (on Friday), and will be out for around two weeks.
Updates from Thursday, Aug. 14
Thoma Vermaelen continues to struggle with the hamstring injury that has so far prevented him from training with his new Barcelona team-mates.
Barca's official website reports:
Xavi Hernández and Marc-André ter Stegen once again trained apart as they worked on their recoveries, whilst Thomas Vermaelen was treated by the physios and Adriano Correia joined in with the rest of the squad for part of the session.
Barcelona have confirmed new signing Thomas Vermaelen continues to suffer with the hamstring injury that ended his World Cup with Belgium, an occurrence that will have many wondering whether he was the smartest summer investment.
The Catalan club's official website confirmed the news just one day after Vermaelen was presented to fans, as tweeted by Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC:
Barca statement says Vermaelen currently injured... out for unknown period with hamstring issue from WC: http://t.co/KT7Fy6J3g7— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) August 11, 2014
Vermaelen set the Blaugrana back a considerable £15 million, according to Jack De Menezes of The Independent. Despite his quality as a centre-back, the 28-year-old's chances of forging a successful career at Arsenal were heavily limited by his consistent injury problems.
The news he will now receive physiotherapy certainly won't calm those who indicated his acquisition was something of a risk. "His presence in training will depend on how the injury develops," reads Barca's official statement.
Arsene Wenger valued Vermaelen's contribution enough to make him club captain after Robin van Persie departed for Manchester United in 2012, but the player's confidence appeared to shrink with the added pressure. His niggling fitness problems also hampered progress, while the emergence of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker's dominant partnership ensured a route back into the starting line-up became unlikely.
Vermaelen made just seven starts in the Premier League last season, per WhoScored.com. He managed over 30 in only one of his five seasons with the north London club, a number that already appears to be under threat during his opening campaign with Barca.
Sky Sports writer Daniel Storey sums up the situation with a humorous prod:
Who had two days on Thomas Vermaelen's first Barcelona injury? Right hamstring.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) August 11, 2014
More seriously, Corrigan indicates Barcelona overlooked an obvious problem during the player's medical:
Just 2 days ago "The player [Vermaelen] took the routine checks on Saturday and no complications were observed" http://t.co/6TfsivjM2Z— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) August 11, 2014
Vermaelen was signed to add stability and competition to a Barcelona defence that became too casual last year. He does neither while injured. Luis Enrique will be hoping Jeremy Mathieu, his other defensive summer signing, can make up for any slack.
Manchester United fans will certainly breathe a sigh of relief. Vermaelen was heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford, per Matt Barlow of the Daily Mail. Louis van Gaal also needs to strengthen his defensive ranks, especially if he opts to continue playing a 3-5-2, but he will feel vindicated after missing out on the player.
Was Thomas Vermaelen a smart signing by Barcelona?
Vermaelen offers a calm, ball-playing presence when fully fit. He reads the game well and is dominant in the tackle, often putting his body on the line for the team's cause. That said, like Gerard Pique and Dani Alves at Barcelona, he hasn't been able to consistently replicate his best form over the past year.
The Belgian's latest injury may turn out to be nothing serious, but given his history, it hints at deeper fitness problems. Vermaelen has the ability to be a key player for Barcelona and needs to quickly establish himself if he is to avoid a repeat of his Arsenal scenario.
Questions will be asked of Barcelona's decision to sign an injured player, especially as he appeared to pass the medical without any risks showing up. The club haven't put a date on his return yet, an oversight that will certainly lead many to believe Vermaelen remains on the brink of sitting out for a significant period of time.