In the summer of 2009 there was only one significant signing for Arsenal: Thomas Vermaelen.
But apart from signing a very good player, the transfer was of interest because over time it helped highlight how Arsene Wenger made the books balance at Arsenal – something that was essential in these days of paying off the stadium debt.
For at this time two players left Arsenal:. First, Adebayor went to Manchester City for £25m on 20 July. He had cost just £3m three years earlier, and as a quick-profit sale must rank alongside Nic Anelka who moved from £250,000 to £25m also in three years. Three years after joining City Adebayor was told he was not part of their plans and could leave.
So it was a fine deal for Arsenal for a player who was already causing problems.
Nine days after taking Adebayor from Arsenal, Manchester City also took Kole Toure for £16m. He had cost £150,000 in 2002.
In short, Arsenal made £32m profit for those two players. In the case of Vermaelen he moved on to Barcelona for £17m – but remained injured for much of this time there.
Yet despite the problems he had with injury while at Arsenal Vermaelen’s time with the club was his most prolific, playing 110 games – 13 more than he played with Ajax. After leaving Arsenal he made just 34 appearances for Barcelona, nine with Roma on loan, and then between 2019 and 2021 he played 45 times for Vissel Kobe in the J League.
Also, his 13 goals for Arsenal was a far higher number than he achieved anywhere else.
On 21 January 2022, the Royal Belgian Football Assocation announced Vermaelen’s retirement as a player, adding that he would be joining the Belgium national team as an assistant coach ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup
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