Three reasons why Newcastle should beat PL rivals to sign this Barcelona reject
COMMENT By Matt Bullin
Rafa Benitez should do everything in his power to sign Barcelona centre-back Thomas Vermaelen on loan next season.
The Mirror reports Watford are lining up a move to sign the former Arsenal star on loan next term, as he will be allowed to leave by parent club Barcelona again.
The 60-time Belgium international has been on loan at Roma this season, where he has only been a bit-part player, making just nine appearances in Serie A.
The 31-year-old is said to be interested in a return to the Premier League after spending five years with Arsenal – here are three reasons why Newcastle should sign him ahead of their return to the Premier League.
He knows the league
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Vermaelen spent five years in the Premier League with Arsenal, making 110 appearances, as well as helping them win the FA Cup. He was in the PFA Team of the Year in his first season at the club, so he obviously has the quality and the nous to succeed in the league. Although the Toon do have a few players with Premier League experience, Vermaelen could provide more to a young squad. Having also played in La Liga and Serie A since then, he has plenty of knowledge of the other top European leagues which could be of use too.
Bolster the back line
Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark have been among Newcastle’s top performers this season, but some depth at centre-half would not harm the squad. The Belgian could provide a steady head in a defence which has been known to crumble this campaign. Vermaelen would probably be first choice if he were to move to St. James’ Park, but if he was not, as seen in recent years he is happy to be a back up option – his experience and advice would still be valuable to the starters.
A permanent deal could be on the horizon
Despite the fact a loan deal is all that is on the cards at the moment, a permanent deal could well happen in the future – and it will give Newcastle a chance to try before they buy. Vermaelen has two years left on his deal at the Nou Camp, but he is unwanted, and could therefore be available for a cut-price deal after the loan, if he impresses at Newcastle. If Benitez could secure Vermaelen’s services on a cheap, permanent deal it would be a major coup for the club.
In other Newcastle news, Benitez must sign this Premier League ace who is a free agent.