Barca strikes deal to sign Valencia's Alba

Barcelona struck a deal Thursday to sign Valencia and Spain left-back Jordi Alba for 14 million euros ($17.5 million) on a five-year contract, the Catalan club said.

"Barcelona Football Club has today reached an agreement with Valencia for the transfer of Jordi Alba, pending a medical which he will undergo in Barcelona next week," a statement from the club said.

"The cost of the transfer will be 14 million euros and the player will sign a contract for the next five seasons," it added.

The Barcelona sports press had been buzzing with rumours of a northward move for Alba, 23, a Catalonia native who trained in Barca's youth academy and impressed last season in the Spanish league, where Valencia finished third.

"He is young, quick and skilful and stands out for his attacking spirit, and often poses a headache for rival right-backs," the club said.

He has also played a part in the march of Spain's squad to the finals of the Euro 2012 tournament next Sunday.

"He has become one of the sensations of the tournament thanks to his displays of power and skill down the left wing," the club said.

It was the first new signing for Barcelona since the departure of its multiple trophy-winning coach Pep Guardiola at the end of last season.

He handed over the reins to his assistant Tito Vilanova after Barcelona failed to beat their fierce rivals Real Madrid to the Spanish league title.


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