Barcelona have completed the signing of Sevilla’s Clement Lenglet after the defender deposited his €35.9 million release clause with the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) on Thursday.
Lenglet, 23, agreed personal terms on a five-year deal with Barca last week before telling Sevilla of his intention to join the La Liga champions.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona_es) 12 July 2018
Barca believed that would pave the way for negotiations with Sevilla — instead of paying the buyout clause, they were hopeful of striking a deal which would have seen them pay more but with the fee spread across a number of instalments.
However, Sevilla were unequivocal in their stance and both president Jose Castro and director of football Joaquin Caparros said there would be no deal with the Catalan club.
That meant Lenglet had to exercise his release clause, paying €35.9m to buy himself out of his contract and free himself up to move to Camp Nou.
Lenglet, a former France under-21 international, becomes Barca’s second signing of the summer following confirmation last week that Gremio midfielder Arthur Melo will also join the club this month.
After joining Sevilla from Nantes for €3.5m in January of 2017, Lenglet impressed in La Liga and the Champions League last season, his first full season in Spanish football.
Manchester United were also credited with an interest in the defender but Barca’s long-standing interest and the efforts of previous sporting director Robert Fernandez helped swing the deal in the Blaugrana’s favour. The deal with Barcelona also includes a €300m release clause.
Samuel Umtiti and Gerard Pique are likely to remain as Ernesto Valverde’s first choice centre-back pairing but Lenglet arrives to put pressure on the duo.
Barca also currently have Thomas Vermaelen and Yerry Mina vying for a place in the middle of the defence, although one of them is likely to leave before the transfer window closes.
Mina’s the favourite to be allowed to go — be that on loan or permanently with a buy-back option — but Paulinho’s return to China means Barca no longer need to free up a non-EU spot in the squad.
Three goals in three games capped an impressive World Cup for Colombia’s Mina, who will have no shortage of takers if Barca decide to sell this summer.