Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen is set to have surgery on an injury which will keep him out for the rest of the season, according to reports.
The Belgian defender joined the Catalan giants in the summer from Arsenal but has yet to appear for the club and it seems he will to wait until next season to make his Barcelona bow.
“We are worried for him and the medical staff are evaluating what’s best,” said sports director Andoni Zubizarreta.
“We don’t know if Vermaelen is now going to need surgery. We are studying the situation.”
Vermaelen hasn’t made a competitive appearance since playing for Belgium in the World Cup on June 22. Since then he has made one appearance for the Barcelona B team against an Indonesian U19 side in the summer.
The former Gunner was heavily linked with Manchester United in the summer and at one point it appeared that Vermaelen would indeed become a United player before a move fell through at the last minute.
The collapse led to Louis van Gaal signing Argentinian defender Marcos Rojo and it seems the club dodged a bullet given the muscle injury that has dogged the 29-year old since his arrival at the Camp Nou in the summer.
Club president Andoni Zubizarreta claimed after Vermaelen joined the club that he was capable of ‘immediate performance’ but it would appear the defender’s latest setback will rule him out until April at least, making it almost impossible for the Belgian to play for Barcelona this summer.
Given the injury situation at United, it would have been a decision that received heavy criticism had Vermaelen been going through his current crisis at Old Trafford this winter.