Thomas Vermaelen completes move to Vissel Kobe from Barcelona

Thomas Vermaelen
Image: Thomas Vermaelen has become the latest former Barcelona player to join Vissel Kobe

Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen has become the fourth former Barcelona player to sign for Japanese side Vissel Kobe.

The 33-year-old joins former Barca players Andres Iniesta, David Villa and Sergi Samper at the club, who are currently 15th in the 18-team J.League.

Vermaelen, who spent five years at Arsenal before joining Barcelona in 2014, remains a regular member of Belgium's national team squad.

David Villa and Andres Iniesta of Vissel Kobe in action during the J.League J1 match between FC Tokyo and Vissel Kobe
Image: Former Barcelona players David Villa and Andres Iniesta are already at Vissel Kobe

"When the offer came I was very excited to come to this team," Vermaelen said at his unveiling on Saturday.

"I think it is a very ambitious team, if you look at the signings that they have done in the past, with Andres (Iniesta), David Villa, Sergi Samper and Lukas Podolski."

"I know them all very well and for me that is a big part also of why it will be easier to come into the team."

David Villa and Andres Iniesta of Vissel Kobe in action during the J.League J1 match between FC Tokyo and Vissel Kobe
Image: Former Barcelona players David Villa and Andres Iniesta are already at Vissel Kobe

Kobe are owned by Hiroshi Mikitani, the CEO of Rakuten, Barcelona's main shirt sponsor, and Vermaelen's move is the latest indicator of the growing connection between the two clubs, who meet in a pre-season friendly later on Saturday.

Also See:

"I played the last couple of years in Barcelona and I learnt a lot there," said Vermaelen.

"I think that is what they ask of me, to bring the experience of what I had in Barcelona, to bring that over here, I think that is what the owner wants.

"I will also play out from the back, like I learnt in Barcelona and also play aggressive defensively so I will try and bring the complete package into this team."

Sky Sports Fantasy Football is Back

Sky Sports Fantasy Football is Back

FREE TO PLAY: Get your Head in the Game

Around Sky