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Thomas Vermaelen presented with new Barcelona opportunities

The Belgian was up for sale but Ernesto Valverde likes what he has seen from the central defender and might give him game time this season.
Sevilla-Leganés: Copa del Rey

Thomas Vermaelen está cuajando una buena pretemporada.
Fernando Zueras / Diario AS

There are few players in Barcelona happier to have a new coach than Thomas Vermaelen and he has the chance to make an impact with new opportunities arising at the club for the central defender. Since arriving three years ago, the Belgian has failed to play with any consistency due to injuries but that might be set to change with Ernesto Valverde installed as the new manager.

Initially, the idea was to sell Vermaelen with interest from the Premier League remaining relatively strong for the player. However, Valverde has seen him working hard during the trip to the United States and could be set to hand him the role of fourth centre-half in his squad.

It seems quite clear that Piqué and Umtiti will make up the first choice central pairing with Mascherano and Vermaelen waiting in the wings and Marlon behind them in the depth chart waiting for chances.

On Saturday night, Vermaelen was the first central defender to come on, which might be a sign of things to come as Valverde sets out his stall as Luis Enrique's replacement on the bench.

It remains to be seen if he can leave behind his history of injuries, which have followed him around since leaving Arsenal. He was considered a player who can "contribute immediately" by Andoni Zubizarreta. That never happened but it could be set to change this season.


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