Arsenal are on the verge of completing a fantastic deal as Thomas Vermaelen is on the cusp of leaving for Barcelona for £15 million.
It was unthinkable Arsenal would ever think of selling Vermaelen given his first three seasons, however, a dramatic loss of form and injuries have seen Vermaelen stock dwindle to little more than a laughing stock.
Where did it go wrong?
The 2012/13 season was when Vermaelen's form went into an irreversible dip. Whilst Vermaelen has always been an aggressive defender, his main strengths laid in his ability to drive forward with the ball and be an unorthodox threat from deep.
From scoring 7 goals in his debut season and 6 in his third (he was injured for the majority of his second season), Vermaelen scored 0 in his fourth year at Arsenal, the 2012/13 season.
This was not just a case of being unlucky, Vermaelen's overall threat of going forward had completely diminished. As per WhoScored, From registering 0.9 shots per game in his first season and 1.3 in his third, in 2012/13 Vermaelen managed a then career low of 0.4 shots.
Of course, as a defender, Vermaelen's first and most important duty is to defend his own goal. However, it appears Vermaelen's offensive decrease was symptomatic of an overall loss in performance.
In his first season, Vermaelen registered 1.9 tackles; 2 interceptions; 7.1 clearances; and 1.1 offsides won per game.
In his third season the numbers decreased slightly as he registered 1.6 tackles; 2.3 interceptions; 4.1 clearances; and 1 offside per game.
However, in the 2012-13 season, all tallies regressed as Vermaelen performed at a lower level. He registered 1.5 tackles; 1.6 interceptions; 4.5 clearances and 0.7 offsides won.
Furthermore, as stated by Squawka, Vermaelen made 6 critical mistakes at the back in the 2012-13 season, 3 of which directly lead to the opposition scoring.
His poor form led to him being dropped against after the loss to Tottenham Hotspur in March 2013. Coincidentally, that coincided with a 10 match unbeaten spell where Arsenal defence shored up, keeping 5 clean sheets, enabling Arsenal to pip Tottenham to the last Champions League spot.
Directly involved in most of Arsenal's worst performances in 2013/14
It was on the back of the 2012-13 season the centre back axis of Koscienly and Mertesacker was formed. Indeed, Vermaelen only featured 14 times in the Premier League in the 2013-14 season, starting only 7 times.
Nonetheless, despite his lessened minutes, Vermaelen still managed to have noted negative effect. His first Premier League start of the season resulted in a 9 match unbeaten streak ended in defeat against Manchester United. Vermaelen was the player who failed to track former Arsenal star Robin van Persie as he headed the only goal of the game.
In the heavy 6-3 loss to Manchester City, the scoreline was only 2-1 to Manchester City until Vermaelen came in for the injured Koscienly. In fact, City's second goal only went in due to the injured Koscienly being unable to deal with Negredo.
During a three game spell where Koscienly was again absent, Arsenal went through their worst patch of form as they drew 2-2 against Swansea, 1-1 against Man City and lost 3-0 to Everton.
In terms of stats, WhoScored have recorded Vermaelen averaged 1 tackle per game; 1.4 interceptions per game; 0.6 offsides won and 5.6 clearances per game - easily his worst performances in terms of stats for Arsenal.
Clearly, Arsenal have done very well to get £15 million for a player who quickly became a liability for the club.