Some info from an Ajax supporter on Arsenal-bound Thomas Vermaelen

Today I’ve interviewed life-long Ajax and Arsenal supporter ‘goonerchris’ to bring you some information on the mystery man that is Thomas Vermaelen. Enjoy.

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First, tell us a little bit about yourself and your knowledge of Vermaelan.
I’m Australian but have a Dutch heritage. I’ve watched Ajax my whole life because of my family but I am also a Gooner and have been for 15 years. I still regularly watch Ajax matches on TV and have seen quite a bit of Vermaelen over the past few years.

So let’s start with his all-important height. Rumours are that he’s 5’11 but I’ve read elsewhere that he’s as tall as 6’2. Your thoughts?
His official stats say 180cm or 6’0. I don’t think immense height is a necessary quality in a centre half. I think as long as you can read the play and be in the right position and are willing to put your head and body where it needs to be that is more important.

How does he like to play? Is he a bit of a hard nut like Nemanja Vidic or more similar to what we already have?
There have been Vidic references before and I feel they are some what accurate. He definitely likes to tackle hard to get in the strikers face and let them know he is around. I remember him getting in Van Persie’s face a while ago when we played them. My opinion is he is far more physical than the defenders we have currently. He can also be used in a defensive midfield role and usually chips in with a handful of goals each season.

Vermaelen is only 23 but is the captain of Ajax. Obviously he’s something of a leader?
He always seems to be talking. He directs the play a lot from the back and he seems to have the respect of his team mates.

What’s his injury record like? Have we got another Tomas Rosicky on our hands?
I have not known him to have any major problems in the past. I don’t think this will be a problem.

If he joins do you think Vermaelen would be ready to slot straight into the first team? Does it spell the end for William Gallas or Kolo Toure? 
I think he will fit in nicely. I think Gallas or Toure (more likely Toure) will be going regardless of whether or not we get Vermaelen. I think Toure will probably go to Man City with Richards coming our way in the deal. Toure has been a great player for the club but with his contract up next year and his age I feel Wenger might feel the time is right to let him go.

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So there we go. Thanks to ‘goonerchris’ for the info. Now we’ll just have to wait and see whether he joins or not.

Have your say on Thomas Vermaelen by leaving a comment.



  1. Sounds good to me. I also feel like Kolo is likely gone this summer. He’s been a great servant to the club and if he goes it will be a sad day. Micah richards would be a decent swap I would think but we need players with experience. The Buffon rumors are incredible exciting though I do not know how much truth is in them. A guy with that kind of experience, leadership, and talent is exactly what we need- position is a secondary issue.

    Also Dzeko looks to be Milans with the new money they have from Kaka. Tbh this could be the bieggining of the decline of the EPLs dominance. Barca > Man, then assume Real become a dangerous team… Then throw in Atletico, Sevilla, Villarreal, and Valencia… Obviously things are going to shift around in the coming months but the changes are welcome for me and I am excited to see some newly formed teams next year

  2. @ MoMONEY – The Kolo stuff is quite interesting. Despite his excellent service to the club I would rather Gallas over Toure, simply because the quality of his performances has been better. In saying that I think we need to keep what we’ve got and bring in one more, rather than replacing and not adding to the numbers at the back.

  3. @ JSP – I think that’s an idea we’ve all considered but Wenger has said many times that Toure does not have the engine to play in the midfield. Case closed I’m afraid.

  4. First let me say this: I am a fan of the rival team, so my opinion might be “coloured”. But Nobody in The Netherlands understands why the big Arsenal wants Vermaelen. He is not one of the best defenders in the league. He is just an average defender. He will never be a regular for Arsenal. He is doomed to stay on the bench (if he is lucky). And the transfer sun that is mentioned: just insane for a average defender. I think Arsenal will regret this move and so will everybody I know. Even the Ajax supporters are glad to be rid of him for the mentioned sum…

  5. i think gallas should go and toure should remain, he has been a great player to the team and i think he still have alot to offer to the gunners.

  6. Vermaelen? to be honest i know nothing about him. If he is Belgian does he play regularly for his country? Wenger must see something in him, but then he also seemed to think Senderous was a good player!Toure seems to have lost his previous form and obviously there is still a problem with him and Gallas.
    How mobile is Vermaelen? is he quck and comfortable on the ball, as well as a good defender?These are the things we need to know.

  7. Anthony; i am Dutch as well, and you talk utter arse. Every ajax fan I speak, on Ajax forums or on Voetbalzone, is sad to see him leave.

  8. I would rather Toure remain and Gallas go if things comes to the worst.But like sameone has already stated,why not just add to what we already have.Replacing is not good.I dot see my team going any where if we start selling experienced players and bring in rockie ones.

  9. Come on Haho, do you really know any Ajax fan that would not be overjoyed if Vermaelen would be sold for the expected 12 million? Do they want him gone, No. He is a decent defender for Dutch standards but nowhere near the Top 3 defenders in the Netherlands (To clear the record, my team does not produce one either; If there is one in Ajax in potential it would be van der Wiel). If such a defender could be sold for such a large amount of money, all Ajax fans I know are overjoyed as it would give Ajax the means to get a much better one. And do you really think Vermaelen is good enough to be a regular for Arsenal? For me is clearly not good enough.

  10. Really interesting to hear you Dutch lads and your opinions of Vermaelen. Time will tell I guess, and we’ll just have to trust AW’s judgement.

    I think we’ve seen the best years of Kolo. Yes, he’s been a great defender for us, but the sad fact is that since he came back from the African Nations with that case of malaria, he just hasn’t been the same player. It’s probably in both his and the club’s interest that he moves on, and gets a last big singing on fee. If he goes to City and we get Micah Richards in return, so much the better. He’s had a poor season, but he has the ability to be a great player.

  11. Thanks ‘Anthony’ and ‘haho’ for your opinions. They might be vastly different but it’s good to hear some thoughts from Holland all the same.

  12. @ Anthony Coolen – cards on the table son, where do your loyalties lie? Ypou say you’re not a gooner, and your opinions are very interesting, but if you tell us you’re a Spud, we may not take them quite so seriously!

  13. I love to watch Arsenal dominate Europe next season. what do u think a squad of 23, 24 will do with a lot of strength. Thomas Vermaelen should come and be part of the next Europe champions

  14. i never want to see kolo leave the cluib he loves it to much and he has allways done his best, we will just lose another experienced player we have to keep everyone together

  15. @ spanish fly: the Latter, I am a fan of Feyenoord. I do not come here to flame Ajax players, nor to annoy Arsenal fans. I am ready to admit that my club is in a slum and that Ajax has better players (at the moment) than we have. But I am genuinely surprised (and with me all of my friends) to hear that the great Arsenal wants Vermaelen and is ready to pay somewhere between 12 and 14 million for him. If Ajax would get 6 to 8 million it would already be a steep price.

    As I said he is a decent defender, but Arsenal wants the best (and has the money to back it up). Even in the Dutch league he is unable to truly excel. If you ask any Dutchman who the best defender is in the Netherlands (or the top 5) almost none will mention Vermaelen and the ones that do are Ajax fans that are blinded by the love they have for their club. To name a few better defenders in the Netherlands: Vertonghen (Ajax), Braafheid (FC Twente), Marcellis (PSV), Granqvist (FC Groningen) and Moreno (AZ). Even colleague Ajax defender Vertonghen is a much better player (so if you must have an Ajax player, choose this one: a much better choice). If Arsenal wants a good defender choose one of the 5 mentioned, not Vermaelen. But my opinion does not count and Vermaelen is likely to make the transfer in the coming days. And respect to Ajax that they are able to get top price for a player not deserving it. But I fear Arsenal will finds that out the hard way.

  16. If Vermaelan is really as bad as his critics here say, how could he be chosen as the captain of Ajax? Clearly there is a mental angle that goes with his reported aerial prowess, and we really need both at Arsenal.

  17. Unfortunately I’ve heard that the Dutch journalists are utterly bemused by our approach for Vermaelen and clearly think he isn’t good enough for Arsenal. I really hope they’re wrong; his attributes seem just right for us and Arsene doesn’t often spend poorly.

  18. I’d love to keep Kolo Toure and whatever new defender we buy in. Why do either him or Gallas have to go? Sack Silvestre instead, he’s godawful. We could get a couple of million from selling Traore too, given our depth at left back at the moment.

    With Senderos returning and by buying at least another defender, we might, MIGHT just not get the end of the season with a backline that would get picked last in the school playground for once.

  19. The Dutch press aren’t criticising Vermaelen – they are unsure as to why Arsenal are interested in him as they don’t think he is good enough for us. That isn’t the same as bad press because a player is leaving.

  20. I am totally surprised Arsenal wants Vermaelen for their squad. The only thing he has going for him is the fact he plays for Ajax (Ajax is still a great club in the minds of many people). Reality is: the last 10 years PSV was the champion 7 times, Ajax, 2 times and AZ 1 time. It has been 6 years since Ajax was the best team in the Netherlands! Ajax is not the great club it used to be. But thanks to the name and reputation they are able to sell above average players to Top clubs for very high prices.

    Yes they have a few very good players (they have better players than my team (AZ) but they do not have a team. This topic is about Vermaelen so I will not talk about AZ). Players such as Suarez (Right Winger) should be bought by a top club such as Arsenal (truly great player). And they have two great talents walking around that should warrant Arsenal interest: van der Wiel (Defender) and Aissati (Attacking midfielder). Besides those three, Ajax has two players that are just below those mentioned: Stekelenburg (Goalkeeper) and Verthongen (Defender). These are the 5 best players of Ajax and only the first three should warrant the interest of Arsenal as the first (Suarez) is good enough for a top club and the two mentioned after that (Aissati, van der Wiel) are great talents bound to be great players but they need a good environment to grow; something Arsenal could offer as they have shown with van Persie.

    Conclusion: Vermaelen is nowhere near good enough for Arsenal. He does not excel in the Dutch league (nowhere near the best defender) and will definitely not do so in the Premier League. Someone mentions the fact that he is the Captain of Ajax: that is because Ajax is lacking a true leader. As somebody must be chosen, Vermaelen was given that role. But he does not have the charisma or the skill to do so at a big club. For a club as Ajax (or my AZ) he is useful but will never be the star player. Arsenal will not be strengthened by him. And the rumoured price of 14 million is ridiculously high for a player of his skill.

  21. @ AZ fan – Thanks for your comments. Although they’re not likely to make our fans thrilled about the likely signing, it is good to have realistic opinions.

    Any news from Holland on the likelihood that Vermaelen will sign?

  22. @Spanish Fry, the Dutch media (reliable ones and the tabloids) suggest it is only a matter of minutes/hours before things are made official. It is clear Vermaelen will come to Arsenal.

    @AZ fan I agree with most of your post.

  23. Who cares what two apparent “Dutch” people think? If Arsene Wenger and his scouts think he is good enough, why argue with them?

    There are Arsenal fans who think Bendtner is rubbish, Denilson cannot tackle, Gallas is pants – so one person’s opinion cannot be trusted over experts.

  24. If he is good enough, he is good enough.

    it is not like we are signing him for 4 mil because we need someone there, he is a big signing (10-11 mil)

  25. it would be good to announce this signing ASAP if its true, a change of tune from previous seasons so to speak. get the monkey off the back early and fire up the fans in the off season!

  26. who said he was bad, im hoping we’ve signed him! I dont think Richards is good enough compensations in exchange for toure though!

  27. Nah, i checked, their next game is in like two months. They are the odd number in their group.

    They Play Spain on 05/09/09, but they have a friendly against the Czech Republic on 12/08/09.

  28. I hope Rosicky comes back because he is a key player for us. He would allow us to just have Theo on the bench, not failing on the wing.

  29. Just popped by Gibbs had a blinder for the England U21s. Two goals and an assist.

  30. This will be my last post here on the subject.

    I had a look at the most popular Ajax forum to see what they think of the transfer. And almost everyone thinks 12-14 million (Euro’s) for Vermaelen is much more than he is worth. Result: sell him for that amount and buy a better one for the transfer money. He is a good player but not one of the key players of the team. His departure will not weaken Ajax one bit. That does say something about his skill doesn’t it.

    If you do not want to take my word for it, here is the link (it is in Dutch though):

  31. If Toure goes and we get Richards in the deal, and we sign Vermaelen, we can start looking for a Defensive Midfielder. Vermaelen sounds good now, and although I didnt know mych about him, I am looking forward to getting him, if we do. A physical presence, strong, good in the air, A vidic-type defender. Thats great, plus we wil hopefulyl get Richards who is strong and fast. Looking like a good transfer window already 🙂

  32. @ Gibbs, Highlight are common on youtube. Many nice ones to be found there. Unfortunately a highligh clip can be made of the worst player making him look like the best player in the world. So to get a good picture of a player an entire match would give a clearer picture. I have found one such link.

    This link is of a match against the main rival of Ajax the past 20 years: PSV. So this is a match against one of the better teams in the Netherlands. Ajax did not do well during this match. But here it is for those who want to see an entire match of Vermaelen.

  33. This is a hard one to me he seems to be a gr8 buy (if it happenes) but i really wouldnt want KOLO to leave only because if he goes than we have no chance of gettin YAYA as he has said playin along side his brother would be a dream and if he goes than so does our chance of landin YAYA but thats the only reason why i wouldnt want KOLO to leave his best playin days are behind him but he has given so much to the club and still plays hard if we could keep him even as a back up ill be happy!

  34. Alistair fan- Thanks for your comments. Although they’re not likely to make our fans thrilled about the likely signing, it is good to have realistic opinions.

    Any news from Holland on the likelihood that Vermaelen will sign?

  35. Anthony, as I said before, there are idiots in all walks of life, so it is very likely that there are also idiots on a Ajax forum.

  36. Well that wasnt nice. if that game is anything to go by then we shouldnt sign him.

  37. any of u true arsenal fans his shit abd loook at the players we used 2 have wtight adams camell henry virea nd this ajax man is nt up 2 dat ldve

  38. I’m shocked by gunners fans regarding KING KOLO. Who wouldnt play badly having silvestre as a partner?and having denilson as a defensive mid. Toure tries TOO HARD because he knws teamates are not as strong so tries to cover too many players and leaves himself exposed.

  39. Toure has not been pants (maybe a bit over the top on my part) but he has not been better than Gallas and is the sole reason for us looking for a center back.

    Gallas marshalled Toure since he came back from having the armband taken off and they hit it off for a while, but as soon s Gallas got injured against Villareal, it all went to pot and Toure was a large part of our collapse.

    I love the guy, I honestly do, but he is not up to scratch.

    As for Walcott, he has been pretty average because he is pretty average on the wing. I am not sure if he would be that much better up front, but he is only 20 – a work in progress who is likely to be World Class – so I accept that he has to improve.

    Toure is a 28 year old veteran who has been below-par for the past three seasons.

  40. And Gibbs, did you actually watch it? I am 20 minutes in and he has been fantastic, not put a foot wrong, showing leadership, organisation and calms the keeper down when they conceded a penalty.

    But they are going to concede six goals at some point so I will have to wait and see.

  41. Good to hear this other one. We are still looking forward to hear event more than this. I think we need to help oldman Wenger as to who to go, who to come and who to stay. Arsenal has been a very happy team in the pass but few seasons ago it has been bitter with us the fans.
    All we want is atleast victory in next season.
    We welcome Thomas Vermaelen at Emmirate stadium. hope to see him preventing stikers from pricking into the GOONERS defend next season.

  42. I think the AJAX fans saying they will not miss him and he is not a key part of the team is just a natural reaction to a player leaving your club… How can they honestly say he is not key to their team… he is the Captain FFS.

  43. Re: Yaya Toure – his agent has said quite clearly that Arsenal do not have the money to have him. He’ll go somewhere else if he does leave Barca. He would be perfect though. Absolutely perfect.

  44. It will be great if Richards come to Arsenal BUT NOT for Kolo.

    He is better that Gallas and he loves the club, Gallas create many problems in his short stay at Arsenal.

    If someone have to leave the team that is Gallas.

    It will be so sad if ManCity reunite the Toure brothers and not Arsenal.

  45. Richards had a pretty ordinary season for City though…I’m not sure if he is the best replacement!

  46. Well… if micah richards and vermaelen is to be our first team CB pair, then I might think that it is a rather risky business. One is a newcomer, the other has only a few years of experience playing for an average team.

    I reckon that if kolo does go, arsene must keep gallas. One of them has to be around.

    However if gallas goes and kolo stays, then our chance of getting richards would be almost zero. But it is alright as we still have djourou. I reckon that wenger would not stop at buying just one defender, he will buy at least 2, given that he had seen enough of silvestre and knows that he had made a bad call by recruiting silvestre.

    I really would like to see zapata coming to arsenal. With richards/zapata, vermaelen, we would have 2 young CB that can probably last us for at least 4-6 seasons. With Djourou fighting for a place, and the emergence of the reserves Gavin hoyte and Nordveit, I have no doubt that we will be strong.

    The position which I would like to see some progress is that of the defensive midfielder. Do we need 1 or 2? What if the DM is injured and we are left with denilson, song and the useless diaby. Yaya toure is a good buy. I seriously hope that wenger would be able to tie him down. Give him a weekly wage of around 50K and that should do it. Given his brotherly ties with kolo, I think that would be enough to persuade him to join us. This means that kolo must not leave the club, which means we would not be able to get richards.

    Regarding the strikeforce, I dont think we would get dzeko and adebayor most probably would still be around next season, now that milan and ancelotti (chelsea) are no longer showing interest. But if adebayor is really to leave us, then I think wenger would not buy any strikers as he would probably play arshavin up front and relieve him of his LM role, which nasri/rosicky should fight for it.

    Therefore, hopefully I see us getting Vermaelen, Richards/Zapata, Yaya toure, Blaise Matuidi/Stephan Mbia. 4 players coming in should be enough for us.

    Please sell away diaby, kolo/gallas, adebayor, senderos and silvestre.

  47. I don’t see us signing a DM because Denilson is better than pretty muich any realistically available option. And we won’t get Richards.

    There are reports that Gallas would be the one to go – hell no!

  48. I sense alot of unneeded negativaty from our fans on this forum. Anyone who thinks Gallas shouldn’t be at Arsenal – you shouldn’t be an Arsenal fan. If you always nit pick for people’s faults, you’ll never look at anything or anyone in a positive light because your old habits die hard. Last season Gallas cried at the final whistle in Birmingham for 3 main reasons – We lost Eduardo, We lost a stupid penalty that never was, and We lost 2 points…considering we only trailed Man Utd by 4 points last year – that was a MASSIVE 2 points. The guy tries to show some passion and let off some frustration HIS WAY, and people take digs at him? WTF?! We have a guy here desparate to win things because he’s used to it, and when he doesnt, we pisstake him?! please people…
    And yes, while he was captain earlier on this year, he spoke out against some players and the way we did certain things. I can guarantee you that we would have finished behind Aston Villa if he didn’t give the team THAT kick up the backside. It’s pretty much what kick-started our season. The opportunity cost to him was that he lost the armband for it. He remained, ofcourse, world-class. Portsmouth home, Spurs home, Man Utd home, Hull home (FA Cup QF), as well as in Europe and plenty of other games he played in. After he got injured against Villarreal – our season ended there and then in my opinion. We ship in FOUR away at Liverpool, FOUR at home to Chelsea, THREE at home to Man Utd, lose the FA Cup semi..etc. etc. You all know this….but he’s still not good enough. Right? Please wake up boys. The last thing we need is another world-class player of his calibre who we should be privalaged to have instead of scum like Ashley Cole leaving aswell. I’m praying he’ll be back for pre-season, and will be a certain started. He IS that good. I’ll repeat it – he is as good at CB as Denilson is in CM.

    As for Vermaelen – Arsene/ haven’t said anything yet, so until then, he has nothing to do with Arsenal FC. Apparently Robin has said that he was quite tough to play against, so if someone as technically amazing as him had problems against Vermaelen, the boys got to be good. Heck, anyone who we realistically want to sign has to be world-class. Why? because we never buy anyone anyways, so the small additions we make have to be of the extreme highest quality available, viz. Andrey Arshavin. And also, they’ll be looking to gel into a world-class team with a world-class manager. So no Titus Bramble wannabes please.

    Also, have we got an opinion on Vermaelen from a genuine Ajaz fan on here? Or just Feyenoord and AZ fans? Because lets face it – I wouldn’t exactly big up Rio Ferdinand, Jamie Carragher or John Terry either…


  49. for my opinion I think that buying new players at arsenal will bring a new vision for the rest of the team and for the coach of arsenal I think that he make a good choice of buying a new defender because in that sector Arsenal is very poor I think that an another defencive midfield has to be in arsenal squad and I hope that the manager will bring an experience player that time because the the previous seasion he had zon the leagues in exprience players in midfield and at the back I hope that this point will be noted thanks

  50. Thank you Z, anyone whos says we should get rid of Gallas is nutty. Vermin comes then King kolo should be benched the only problem is that Vermin and Gallas both play on the left side of defence, so we will have to see how that works out.

    Wenger isnt going to be a central midfielder. NOT A CHANCE.

    He said it himself we scored as much as the champions but conceeded more, so for him thats a pure backline issue. As such we are constantly linked with defenders, thats I avn and Wengers brief, Defenders. The one thing both of the two targets we are linked with have is that are both captains, the position Wenger likes his captains to be in. One of them is coming, both wouldnt be a surprise if Phil leaves.

  51. Thanks for All of the postings good bad and ugly. I,m with Kolo Always because he’s given us all he;s had. Does he have any more? who knows? One thing for sure “Le Boss’s policy of giving our over 30 players one year contracts has burned us repeatedly; Gallas and Kolo will be the latest.
    I will only name: Henri,Edu,Pires,and Patrick Viera who was in fact the last real captain we had and a man whos’ teamates were araid to be afraid around. Fact is we have not won a single thing since his penalty in the FA final shootout v Man-U.
    I hope this (Belgian? Flemmish?) kid can help us but when I look at our club’s website and see that the big hubbub is that we’ve signed Fabianski(Barber Pole) to a long term contract
    I can’t help but think Wenger has long lost the plot. Oh yea Bendtner Sucks out loud even though unfortunately he wears my squads crest on his overblown, self-important chest. How very sad indeed. From Heny to Bendtner.
    This Cannot be called progress from any perspective you prefer.

  52. @zee_born_gooner i agree withhh youuu. I want gallass to stay because he actually showsss sum bottle when we need it. Toure for Richards will do nicely nowww.

  53. Lol how wrong were you ppl the vermerelean haters of course, how u would be eatin your words now. Humble pie anyone lol. One of the best signings EVER!!!!

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