Liverpool in battle to lure ex-Arsenal man back to Premier League

Liverpool are one of a pack of clubs, including West Ham, that are keen on Barcelona outcast Thomas Vermaelen, according to reports from Mundo Deportivo.

The Belgian, who captained Arsenal before his exit, has been with the Catalan giants since the summer of 2014, but has barely made an impact the Nou Camp due to a succession of injuries.

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Although he proved his fitness in time to earn a spot in his nation’s EURO 2016 set-up, his club future looks bleak with Barca having swooped for Samuel Umtiti, and reports claim that he could well be sold, with Liverpool one of a host of clubs keen.

Alongside the Reds, West Ham, Napoli, Besiktas and Inter Milan are all said to be keen on the classy enforcer, despite his injury record.

Liverpool’s interest in the 30-year-old may hinge on the outcome of Mamadou Sakho’s UEFA anti-doping investigation.

The French defender allegedly tested positive for a fat-burning substance late last season, and although his initial 30-day ban has run its course an official final outcome is expected in the coming weeks.

Should he be banned – his violation may result in an 18 months suspension – Liverpool will be short of options at the back, despite the arrival of Joel Matip, with Kolo Toure having left the club, while Martin Skrtel is expected to depart, too.