BPL Transfer Notebook: Thomas Vermaelen off to Barca, Fraser Forster a Saint, more

IMAGE, FCBARCELONA.COM

Both Manchester United and Barcelona wanted to bolster their defenses with Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen, but it is the Blaugrana who won the chase.

With a price of 10 million Euros, a further five million in performance bonuses and 3.8 million if the team win the Champions League, Barcelona showed the money to back their interest in the former Ajax captain. The Belgian defender’s buyout clause is set at 80 million Euros.

Sporting Director Andoni Zubizarreta said, “He had important offers from other clubs, but he chose to listen to us, which we are grateful for.”

“This is one of the best clubs in the world,” Vermaelen added. “It’s a dream for many players to come here, so it wasn’t a difficult decision for me to make.”

Vermaelen represented Belgium at the World Cup in the summer. However, with the Gunners he fell down the pecking order, struggling for first team minutes behind Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker.

United dropped their interest in the center back on Friday with Arsenal not wanting to deal with a direct rival and the Red Devils not favoring a swap deal.

That opened the door for Barcelona and the deal was completed shortly there after.

His absence creates a gap in the Arsenal defensive depth, leaving new signing Calum Chambers as a potential third choice. It will become a point of focus in the transfer window for the Gunners before the window shuts.

FORSTER HEADS TO SAINTS

Southampton have spent a summer losing their best players, but they have managed to bring in English goalkeeper Fraser Forster.

Celtic have agreed to a fee of a reported £10m with the Saints for Forster. The 26-year-old was a member of the Three Lions squad that traveled to Brazil, but was the only player not to feature at the World Cup for England.

First Team Manager Ronald Koeman was aglow over the signing. “Fraser is a very talented player and we are delighted to be able to bring him to Southampton,” he said in a statement. “This is another important part of our rebuilding process ahead of the start of the season.”

Forster now holds a Scottish Premier League record after going 13 matches and 1,256 minutes without conceding a goal.

The 6’7″ goalkeeper began his carer with Newcastle, but after loan spells with Celtic signed a permanent deal in 2012. It is believed the Magpies will get a portion of the fee from the deal.

Forster will be in direct competition with Artur Boruc and Kelvin Davis for the first team goalkeeping jersey.

TRANSFER CHATTER

1. Blind love– The Manchester United overhaul looks to be continued by Luis van Gaal and is looking to bring in a familiar face. Having coached the Netherlands to a third place finish at the World Cup, he’s hoping to bring one of the Dutch midfielders to Old Trafford. Daley Blind is a reported target also drawing interest from Barcelona. Blind felt La Liga may suit his strengths more, but didn’t rule a move to United out. (From the Daily Mail)

2. Spurs not sold on Soldado loan– Tottenham spent big after selling Gareth Bale last year and Roberto Soldado was supposed to help with the goal-scoring burden, but the move didn’t quite pan out. Atletico Madrid wants to take the Spanish striker on loan with a view to a permanent transfer. While Spurs are willing to let the player leave, they’d rather it be with a transfer fee to sign a replacement. (From the Telegraph)

3. Joel Campbell set for another loan?– After impressing at the World Cup and in preseason with Arsenal, Joel Campbell could be set for another loan spell away from London. This time it could be in the Premier League and specifically to Newcastle. While the striker hopes to remain with the club a spell in the North East could offer more playing time than with the Gunners. (From the Mirror)

4. DeAndre Yedlin soon to be a Spur?– After a strong World Cup showing, European clubs took an interest in DeAndre Yedlin. That interest could be followed up soon with a move to the Premier League. The young right back was in London to discuss potential terms this week. Any deal should see the Seattle Sounders play finish up the 2014 MLS season before going abroad. (From the Mirror)