Barcelona sign Junior Firpo in €18m deal from Real Betis
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Barcelona have completed the €18 million (£16.3m/$20m) signing of Real Betisdefender Junior Firpo.
The left-back has signed a five-year deal with the Spanish champions and will provide competition for Jordi Alba at Camp Nou.
The final fee for Junior could rise to €30m (£27.5m/$33.4m) with add-ons, while his release clause has been set at €200m.
Born in the Dominican Republic, Junior has represented Spain at Under-21 level having impressed during five years at Betis.
The 22-year-old leaves the Andalusian outfit after making 43 appearances, scoring five goals and laying on seven assists in all competitions.
One of those goals came in a memorable 4-3 win over Barca at Camp Nou in November, with Junior having been linked with a move to the Blaugrana ever since.
“One of the young talents that shone during the past year in La Liga, Junior is a concern for rival defences,” Barcelona’s statement read.
“His electricity and his tireless running allow him to recover quickly the defensive position.
In addition, Junior Firpo dominates in possession – a fundamental aspect of the Barca game.”
Junior becomes the fourth major signing of the summer for Barcelona, joining Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong and Neto in completing moves to Ernesto Valverde’s side.
Those transfers have been funded by the sales of a number of fringe players, including Malcom, Jasper Cillessen, Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez.
Their pre-season preparations continue against Arsenal on Sunday before taking on Napoli on August 10.
They then kick-off their Liga campaign against Athletic Club six days later, though a row between the league and the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has thrown the kick-off time for that match into doubt.
The RFEF insists that no matches can be played on Fridays and want it to be moved to Saturday, August 17, but La Liga insist they have the final say on scheduling fixtures.
A court date on August 7 is set to settle the debate.