Proven PL performer with reported £71.4m release clauses makes Everton transfer admission
By Danny Wright
Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen has admitted that no one, including Everton, would want to pay to activate his insanely high release clause in order to sign him from the La Liga giants.
Belgian news outlet DH claims that Vermaelen, 31, has a release fee worth £71.4million, which put off potential suitors in the summer, including Everton, who have now been confirmed by the centre-back to have wanted him during the transfer window.
The Belgium international also revealed that Barca were not keen on the idea of letting him leave the Nou Camp in order to preserve some strength in depth in their defence, however Vermaelen is yet to play a single game for them this term.
“The leaders told me that there were four central defenders, I had no choice but to stay, clubs tried until the last day, like Everton, but it was impossible, I have never been able to negotiate,” he said to DH.
“Unfortunately, my clause is very expensive. Who would pay this?”
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Since signing for Barca from Arsenal in 2014, Vermaelen has been hampered by a number of different serious injury problems, meaning he has made just 21 appearances across all competitions for them in three years.
Last season the ex-Ajax centre-back was shipped out on loan, but again spent more time in the treatment room than on the pitch as he played just 12 times.
Ronald Koeman was on the lookout for defensive reinforcements over the summer as he had to cope with his own injury crisis with Ramiro Funes Mori and Seamus Coleman both ruled out for long periods.
Michael Keane and Cuco Martina were both snapped up by Everton, but there are still doubts about whether Koeman has found the winning formula for his rearguard after a poor start to the campaign.
Vermaelen would have no doubt been a good addition to the Toffees side should he have stayed fit if he moved to Goodison.
His previous spell at Arsenal proved him to be a top performer in the Premier League and at his prime he would have perhaps got into most other teams fighting for the title.