World Football

Thomas Vermaelen Treads Well-Worn Transfer Path from Arsenal to Barcelona

Ian RodgersWorld Football Staff WriterAugust 9, 2014

Thomas Vermaelen Treads Well-Worn Transfer Path from Arsenal to Barcelona

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Barcelona have confirmed the signing of Thomas Vermaelen from Arsenal, as the club's official website reported.

    The Belgium international passed his medical on Saturday and will be unveiled on Sunday after penning a five-year deal at Camp Nou.

    But Vermaelen is not the first Arsenal player to make the move from north London to the La Liga giants. Here, we take a look at the previous seven players to follow the same path.

Marc Overmars

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    CESAR RANGEL/Associated Press

    Marc Overmars was one of Arsene Wenger's early signings at Arsenal, joining the Gunners from Ajax for £5.5 million.

    The Netherlands international became part of Highbury folklore when his goal at Old Trafford hauled Arsenal beyond Manchester United in the Premier League title race. Overmars would go on to help the Gunners win the double in the 1997-98 season.

    He joined Barcelona for £25 million in 2000 but failed to replicate his success, winning nothing in four seasons at the club.

Emmanuel Petit

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Emmanuel Petit was part of the same summer business as Overmars, and he went on to become another iconic figure for Arsenal.

    After helping the club win the Premier League and FA Cup in 1998, he was part of the France team that won the World Cup in the same year.

    However, he left for Barcelona at the same time as Overmars, faring even worse than the Dutchman at Camp Nou, and he eventually left to join Chelsea after just one season in Spain.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst

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    MANU FERNANDEZ/Associated Press

    Giovanni van Bronckhorst had proved to be a huge success in Scotland with Glasgow Rangers before joining Arsenal in 2001.

    However, his time with the Gunners was soured by injury, and the Netherlands international joined Barcelona on loan three years later.

    His initial loan deal became permanent 12 months later, and Van Bronckhorst went on to win the Champions League in 2006 (against the Gunners, interestingly), two La Liga titles and two Copa del Rey trophies.

Thierry Henry

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    One year after seeing Barcelona deny them a first European Cup, Arsenal supporters saw Barcelona take club legend Thierry Henry off of their hands.

    The France international had been part of the Gunners team defeated by the Catalans in Paris in 2006, and he moved to Camp Nou in July 2007 for £16.1 million.

    Henry had been a major success at Arsenal, with his 174 goals for the club following his arrival from Juventus in 1999.

    The French forward added to his silverware tally at Barcelona, capped off by the Champions League trophy in 2009.

Alexander Hleb

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    MANU FERNANDEZ/Associated Press

    Alexander Hleb was not the most widely known name to arrive at Arsenal under Wenger, but he soon won over the fans. However, the Belarus international failed to win a trophy with the Gunners during his three seasons before joining Barcelona in 2008.

    The transfer to Camp Nou was a forgettable time for Hleb, as he made just 19 appearances for the club and spent much of his time out on loan to Stuttgart, Birmingham and Wolfsburg before moving to Kryliya Sovetov in Russia in January 2012.

Cesc Fabregas

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    Siu Wu/Associated Press

    Midfielder Cesc Fabregas is widely considered by Arsenal supporters to be one of the best players to star for the club. He rose through the ranks at the Barcelona Academy before joining the Gunners at 16. He became an integral part of Wenger's team but had only the 2005 FA Cup to show for his efforts.

    Arsenal knew Fabregas would return to Camp Nou one day, and he rejoined Barca for £25 million in 2011.

    But following the arrival of Luis Enrique at Barcelona this summer, the midfielder was allowed to return to England with Chelsea.

Alex Song

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    Victor Fraile/Getty Images

    Wenger proved his knowledge of the French game by bringing unknown defender Alexandre Song from Bastia on loan in 2005.

    During his single year at the club, the Cameroon defender did enough to convince the Arsenal manager to shell out £1 million for his services.

    Song was one of the standout players for Arsenal during a difficult time for the club, who went without silverware between 2005 and last season.

    He moved to Barcelona in August 2012 for £15 million, and it remains questionable whether the Gunners have fully replaced him in the defensive-midfield role.

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