By Tom Blackburn
Barcelona are braced for a bid from West Ham for injury-plagued centre-back Thomas Vermaelen, according to a report.
Football Insider reported last week that the Hammers had abandoned their chase to leave Roma and Inter Milan in the running to land the former Arsenal defender.
However, Spanish sport website Sport.es claim that Barcelona are waiting for West Ham to table an offer for the defender who recently starred in Belgium’s Euro 2016 run to the quarter-finals.
Barcelona are believed to want £12million for the defender, and have rejected bids of just under £7million from Inter and Roma according to Sport.
The 30-year-old, whose wife is English, is believed to favour a return to the Premier League where he feels he has unfinished business.
A deal is unlikely to be completed for a while as Vermaelen is currently on holiday and has told Barca that he will inform them of his decision when he returns, which is expected to be towards the end of this month. He has three years remaining on his Camp Nou contract.
As well as signing Lyon’s promising centre-back Samuel Umtiti, Luis Enrique now has five centre-backs at his disposal along with Gerard Pique, Jeremy Mathieu and Javier Mascherano.
He is seen as surplus to requirements and Enrique has decided to let him leave for first-team action elsewhere.
Vermaelen, who started his playing career at Ajax, has had a torrid time with a never-ending flow of injuries at the Nou Camp, making only 11 La Liga appearances in his two years at the club.
In other West Ham news, new signing Gohkan Tore says an asset of theirs is the best in the business.