Barcelona has reached an agreement with Ajax to sign Sergino Dest, with the Catalan side hopeful of swiftly wrapping up a deal for the United States international as Luis Suarez bids farewell to the club where he has spent the last six years.
Uruguayan striker Suarez left Barca’s training ground in tears on Wednesday, with sources close to the club revealing to Goal that a farewell event is being planned for Thursday ahead of the 33-year-old’s impending move to Atletico Madrid.
The Blaugrana have been working hard during the transfer window to offload as many players that are not part of Ronald Koeman’s plans as possible, with the club in desperate need of fast cash to finance the Dutchman’s rebuild.
The Catalan club has thus far raised €34 million (£31m/$40m) through sales, with Nelson Semedo having been moved on to Wolves, Jorge Cuenca to Villarreal, Ivan Rakitic to Sevilla, and Arturo Vidal to Inter. That number could rise by an additional €24m (£22m/$28m) through add-ons.
With the money they have, Barca can now afford to move for 19-year-old right-back Dest, who will cost the club €20m (£18m/$23m) upfront plus an additional €5m (£4.5m/$6m) in bonuses.
In addition to the players already offloaded, the club is also hopeful of selling Martin Braithwaite, Samuel Umtiti, Jean-Clair Todibo, Rafinha, and Junior Firpo, and are understood to have all but given up on signing Inter’s Lautaro Martinez – at least for now – due to a lack of liquidity.
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Barca has also reached an agreement with Suarez to pay only half of his €14m (£13m/$16m) annual salary that had been left to run, as the striker did not want to cause further issues for a club that has given him so much throughout his six-year stay at Camp Nou.
Following the imminent acquisition of Dest, the board is keen to bring in an out-and-out striker to replace Suarez, with Lyon’s Memphis Depay seemingly the top option. And while more sales will have to be made to finance a bid, a transfer should not yet be ruled out.
Barca had also been hopeful of strengthening their backline by bringing centre-half Eric Garcia back from Manchester City, a player that the Premier League side value at around €25m (£23m/$29m) and who has only one year left to run on his current contract.
It is understood that the 19-year-old will not renew with City, however, and the Catalans are happy to wait until his deal runs out before signing him on a free transfer ahead of next season.
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