Vermaelen signs for Japanese side Vissel Kobe

Thomas Vermaelen turned down an offer to join Anderlecht. (Reuters pic)

BRUSSELS: Belgian international defender Thomas Vermaelen has become the latest high profile player to move to Japanese team Vissel Kobe, according to a report in the Belgian daily Het Laatste Nieuws.

The 33-year-old, whose contract with Barcelona has now expired, will team up with David Villa, Lucas Podolski and his former Barca captain Andres Iniesta.

Vermaelen, who is reported to have turned down an offer to join Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht, passed his medical and visited the club’s training complex.

Vermaelen began his career at Ajax before moving on to Arsenal and Barcelona with a loan spell at Roma.

He has played 74 times for Belgium, most recently in the 3-0 Euro qualifier win against Scotland in June.

Vissel Kobe are currently 15th in the 18-team J-league.