Thomas Vermaelen arrived on the shores of England after a good spell at Ajax Amsterdam. It was fabled that Vermaelen was watched over 49 times by Arsenal’s scouts to confirm that he was the man for the squad's defense.
The Belgian began his career in the 2000-'01 season in Germinal Beerschot Antwerpen, but he was quickly sent over the border to continue his education at Ajax.
It took him over four years to find his feet in Amsterdam, but a loan move to RKC Waalwijk in the 2004-'05 campaign did wonders to his confidence, and he returned to Ajax to stake his claim for a first-team place and never looked back.
After closing in on a century of league appearances for the Dutch outfit, he was snapped for £9.5 million by Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger, and he took the Premier League by storm in his debut season, making 33 appearances with an amazing haul of eight goals to his name.
His stellar performances didn’t go unnoticed, as he was awarded a place in the 2009 PFA Team of the Year.
Vermaelen didn’t have the chance to build on his good form in his second season, after sustaining an Achilles tendon injury that sidelined him for the best part of seven months. Vermaelen has also been plagued by injuries in his third season with the club.
Wenger started his Arsenal career with the formidable Adams-Keown combo for a long while, and the Toure-Campbell combo was equally as strong as its predecessors.
Wenger has struggled to find a suitable partner for Vermaelen, but the solution has come in the form of Per Mertesacker.
Following the loss of the Invincible defenders Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure, Wenger hasn't bought any defender of great quality, with the exception of Thomas Vermaelen and maybe William Gallas.
The likes of Phillippe Senderos, Mikael Silvestre and Sebastien Squillaci have been major disappointments.
Wenger relied fully on Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny throughout last season, but they still produced moments of uncertainty and complacency in some vital games.
Koscielny produced a horror moment in the Carling Cup Final last season, while Djourou was at fault for all three goals when Arsenal lost to Stoke City in May.
With their recent display against Manchester United in Old Trafford, Wenger felt that it was high time to bring a player that will put them on their toes.
Here's my take on the 10 key reasons why the new-look Vermaelen-Mertesacker combination will be a big hit for Arsenal.