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Defender Vermaelen completes Arsenal move

  • Story Highlights
  • Arsenal complete the signing of Ajax defender Thomas Vermaelen from Ajax
  • The Belgian international joins the Premier League club for an undisclosed fee
  • The 23-year-old Vermaelen becomes Arsenal's first major signing of summer
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(CNN) -- Premier League side Arsenal have completed the signing of Belgium international defender Thomas Vermaelen from Ajax for an undisclosed fee on a long-term contract.

Vermaelen moves to the Premier League after making over 100 appearances for Dutch club Ajax.

Vermaelen moves to the Premier League after making over 100 appearances for Dutch club Ajax.

The 23-year-old joined Ajax in 2004 and made over 100 appearances for the Dutch giants, captaining the side last season.

Speaking on the official Arsenal Web site, Vermaelen said: "Arsenal are a great club with a world class manager, high quality players and a fantastic stadium. Latest transfer gossip and rumors

"Everything is set up for Arsenal to be very successful for years to come and I joined this club because I know Arsenal will be challenging for trophies," he added.

"I have had a good taste of the Champions League during my time with Ajax and this is something I am looking forward to experiencing again with Arsenal.

"I am also looking forward to playing in the English Premier League, which for me, is the best league in the world. I just want to assure the Arsenal fans that I will give everything for this club and I hope we can enjoy winning some trophies together next season."

Prior to joining the London side, Vermaelen told Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen: "I feel so proud, Arsenal are a fantastic club and one that, as a child, I enjoyed watching play.

"Arsene Wenger stands for nice, attacking football and dares to work with young talents. That appeals to me enormously."

Vermaelen becomes Arsenal's first signing of the summer and will strengthen a defense that was heavily criticized last season.

"Thomas is a solid performer with good experience of Champions League and UEFA Cup football and is also a regular with the Belgium national team," manager Wenger told the official Web site.

"Thomas is primarily a left-footed center-back, but he is multi-functional and can also play at left-back. He is strong technically with a positive winner's attitude and I have no doubt his arrival will strengthen our team."

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