Thomas Vermaelen is a Belgian footballer who plays for Arsenal F.C. and the Belgium national football team. Though he usually plays as a left-sided centre back, he can play at left-back as well. He is currently the captain of Arsenal. He started his career in his home country with Germinal Ekeren and then moved on to the Dutch club Ajax's youth academy. He made his professional debut on 15 February 2004 in a 2–0 away win over Volendam. He was sent on loan to RKC Waalwijk for the 2004–05 season, where he made thirteen appearances in which he scored three goals. Vermaelen joined Arsenal from Ajax for an initial fee of €10 million on 19 June 2009, signing a four-year contract. Vermaelen made his Premier League debut on 15 August 2009 in a 6–1 away win against Everton, and scored in the 37th minute. Arsenal fans voted him as their player of the month twice in a row on Arsenal.com and affectionately nicknamed him the 'Verminator'. Vermaelen started his first UEFA Champions League game against Olympique de Marseille and played a key role in helping keep a clean sheet for the Gunners. On August 2012 Vermaelen was announced as Arsenal's new captain, replacing Robin van Persie upon his departure to Manchester United. His key attributes include aerial ability, leadership skills and he is quick with the ball at his feet. He is also known for his goalscoring ability as a defender.