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The versatile Belgium centre-back has arrived in Catalunya to seal a switch to Camp Nou, after snubbing interest from Manchester United

EXCLUSIVE
By William Joyce

Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen is in Spain to undergo a medical and complete his €19 million move to Barcelona.

The Blaugrana agreed a deal for the Belgium international with the Gunners on Friday, with the centre-half snubbing interest from Manchester United to seal a switch to La Liga.

Arsene Wenger had previously admitted that he would rather sell the 28-year-old to a foreign club rather than a domestic rival and, after being given a straight choice between Old Trafford and Camp Nou, Vermaelen plumped for Catalunya.

United had long been on Vermaelen's tail, with talk of their interest first emerging during the World Cup.

New boss Louis van Gaal is on the look-out for ball-playing centre-backs to fit into his 3-5-2 system and had sanctioned a move for the former Arsenal captain, who has fallen down the pecking order at the Emirates Stadium.

Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny have forged an impressive central defensive partnership for the Gunners over the past 18 months, limiting Vermaelen to a supporting role.

Arsenal have signed Calum Chambers from Southampton this summer and the 19-year-old could now be installed as third-choice centre-back at the Emirates if no new faces arrive before the close of the transfer window.

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