Former Belgium international Thomas Vermaelen, 33, is set to return to the Premier League this winter, reports talkSPORT.
Despite injury concerns over Samuel Umtiti, 25, former Arsenal defender Vermaelen is not expected to be offered a contract extension when his current deal expires next summer. Having had his time at the Camp Nou wrecked by injury, the Catalans are understood to believe it is too much of a risk to re-sign the Belgian even as cover.
Vermaelen is keen to return to English football with Watford and Southampton both interested. The Hertfordshire club would take him back to familiar territory; their training facility is next door to Arsenal’s where he spent five mixed seasons.
Popular with the fans, he suffered an Achilles tendon injury in 2010 dogged his time in north London. By the time he left for Barcelona in 2014, most supporters were staggered Arsenal persuaded Barcelona to part with £15m for his services.
Southampton and Watford enquired about his availability during the summer of 2018, but Barcelona rebuffed their enquiries. Now, however, with less than six months remaining on his contract, the English pair are once again lurking.
The Saints, facing a relegation battle, have a more urgent need to strengthen their defence. Will Barcelona be tempted by a loan deal to see out the six months of his contract?