Vissel Kobe are looking to make Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen their latest big-name European signing, an official with the J-League first-division club revealed Wednesday.

The 33-year-old center-back, who was last signed with Spanish champions Barcelona, is currently in Japan for talks with Vissel.

Vermaelen has been without a club since the end of his contract with Barcelona last year.

A member of the Belgian team who finished third at last year's World Cup in Russia, Vermaelen started his professional career with Ajax before playing more than 100 games for Arsenal.

Vissel, currently 15th in the J1 standings, count World Cup winners Andres Iniesta, David Villa and Lukas Podolski among their roster.