Barcelona defender Vermaelen may need surgery

Reuters, Monday 24 Nov 2014

Thomas Vermalen (Photo: Reuters)

Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen may need an operation to cure his thigh injury, sports director Andoni Zubizarreta said on Monday.

The Belgium centre half is still waiting to make his competitive debut after joining from Arsenal in the close season and his signing is turning into something of an embarrassment for the board.

"We don't know if Vermaelen is now going to need surgery, we are studying the situation," Zubizarreta told reporters ahead of Tuesday's Champions League game at APOEL Nicosia.

"We are worried for him and the medical staff are evaluating what is best."

Vermaelen sustained the injury playing against Russia at the World Cup in June.

Pressure is building on Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu and Zubizarreta over the club's transfer strategy, with many fans also critical of the 20 million euros (16 million pounds) spent on Valencia defender Jeremy Mathieu, 31.

The two senior figures were whistled by unhappy supporters during the 5-1 win over Sevilla on Saturday.

"I accept the reaction in the best way possible. Barca are always the focus of attention and even more so when there are questions being asked," said Zubizarreta.

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