That leaves Barcelona with Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet as its only center backs, with Samuel Umtiti also sidelined while recovering from a left-knee injury. Barcelona hosts Celta Vigo on Saturday in the Spanish league before a two-week winter break.
Vermaelen should be fit by the time Barcelona plays its Champions League round-of-16 tie against Lyon in February. The 33-year old Belgian's career has been plagued by injuries. He has made six appearances for Barcelona this season.
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