By Tony Attwood
Now here’s a funny one. Or rather a funny addition to a funny one.
When Thomas Vermaelen played for Arsenal I thought he was a Good Thing (to use the technical term). He played 110 league games for us and everything about him looked good.
But then he got a long term injury, and went to Barcelona for £15m. They knew of his injury issues of course, but they also knew that despite all their public posturing they were going to be found guilty by Fifa of child trafficking and so banned from transfer business for a year. Time enough for Vermaelen to get better and get playing.
Except he hasn’t played, and the main news surrounding him has been his inability to park a car.
Anyway, now the story is emerging that within the contract between Arsenal and Barcelona, there is a clause that says that if Barcelona win the Champions League they will pay Arsenal another £3m.
The story is, there is nothing in the deal to say that Vermaelen actually has to play in the final, or indeed at any other time. And there are other bonuses to be paid as well, all related not to Vermaelen’s playing, but to how Barcelona get on.
Vermaelen is obviously back in full fitness now because he was named as a substitute for Barcelona in the semi-final first leg.
What is particularly interesting is that those whose prime occuption is criticising Arsenal at every level have often made a lot about the incompetence (as they see it) of Arsenal’s negotiating prowess in terms of transfers. Of course they won’t ever re-think because evidence is never something they welcome, but for the rest of us I guess the story can bring a little smile.
Apparently Isco was poor in the game with Juventus on Tuesday so that’s that then, and he’s off. He will cost £45m which should please the top football man at the Daily Telegraph.
And we are also going to get “Germany World Cup hero Mario Gotze,” according to, oh, yes, it’s the Metro. He’s 22 and he’s not good enough to play for Bayern so we’ll take second best apparently. He’ll cost us £30m which is not enough to satisfy the man from the Telegraph. But hang on Chelsea and Manchester United also want him so that’s us screwed.