According to Italian media outlet Tuttomercatoweb, Inter Milan are reportedly set to beat Everton to the loan signing of Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen – who claims he has a release clause of €80m (approximately £70m) in the same report – during the January transfer window.
Well, Tuttomercatoweb claims that the Belgium international is closing in on a loan move to the Serie A giants in the New Year after being frozen out at the Camp Nou, even though the Toffees are keen to bring him to Goodison Park after failing with a similar move during the summer.
The 31-year-old is fearful of his place in his national team squad ahead of the World Cup in Russia next summer unless he starts playing regularly, and that is something that certainly hasn’t happened this term with Barcelona, or even throughout his whole time with the La Liga outfit.
Not too well.
Having spent last season on loan with AS Roma, Vermaelen made his first Barcelona appearance since March 2016 when he played the full 90 minutes in the Copa del Rey victory against Real Murcia last month, while he was also named on the substitutes’ bench for the goalless draw against Olympiacos in the Champions League on Tuesday night with Javier Mascherano absent.
However, those rare outings in the squad certainly don’t suggest that he has a future under Ernesto Valverde, with a move to Italy looking more and more likely.
It seems unlikely right now, especially as the Toffees don’t even have a permanent manager.
Their interest during the summer may have come from Ronald Koeman rather than the club, and that could mean they are less interested in the 32-year-old now than they were then.
Considering one of the Merseyside outfit’s main weaknesses right now appears to be the lack of pace in their backline, it would certainly be strange to add Vermaelen into the mix considering he isn’t that quick.
Well, Vermaelen seems to be set on returning to Serie A following a successful spell last term, and Everton fans probably won’t be losing too much sleep if he does decide to reject a move to Goodison Park.