Thomas Vermaelen (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈtoː.mɑs ˌvər.ˈmaː.lə(n)]) (born 14 November 1985) is a Belgian footballer who plays for the Premier League club Arsenal and the Belgian national team. Prior to his joining Arsenal he played for Dutch clubs Ajax and RKC Waalwijk. Being left-footed, he usually plays as a left-sided centre back and can play at left back as well. Following Cesc Fàbregas's transfer to Barcelona in August 2011, Vermaelen was named as vice captain of Arsenal, with Robin van Persie named captain.
Vermaelen started his career in his home country with Germinal Ekeren, which later changed its name to Germinal Beerschot after a merger.
Vermaelen joined the academy of Dutch club Ajax. He made his professional debut on 15 February 2004 in a 2–0 away win over Volendam. It was however the only match he played during the season in which Ajax won the Eredivisie championship. He was sent on loan to RKC Waalwijk for the 2004–05 season. At RKC he was not a first team regular, but made thirteen appearances in which he scored three goals.
His breakthrough came when he returned to Ajax and won the KNVB Cup. Performances that season resulted in a call-up to the Belgium national...