(born 14 November 1985) is a Belgian footballer
who plays for Premier League
and is captain of the Belgian national team
. Prior to his joining Arsenal he played for Dutch
and RKC Waalwijk
. He is especially known for his aerial ability, defensive leadership, and his potent threat as a goalscorer, despite being a central defender. Being left-footed, he usually plays as a left-sided centre back
and can play at left back as well.
Vermaelen started his career in his home country at Germinal Ekeren
, which later changed its name to Germinal Beerschot after a merger.
In 2000 Vermaelen joined the academy of Dutch
. 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 football team
. Ajax won the Johan Cruijff Shield
and another KNVB Cup the following season and in 2007, they won the Johan Cruijff Shield
for the second consecutive time. He forged a partnership with fellow academy graduate John......