Former Inter striker Manaj joins Barcelona for €700,000

The ex-Nerazzurri centre-forward has moved to the Catalan capital to play for their second team

Barcelona have signed Rey Manaj from Albacete for an initial €700,000, with the former Inter striker agreeing a contract until June 2023.

The fee could rise by €2 million (£1.7m/$2.2m) in performance-based bonuses over the next three and a half years, with 22-year-old Manaj set to line up for Barcelona B in the Spanish third tier.

After starting his senior career with Cremonese, the Albania international – who has a €50 million (£42.7m/$55.5m) release clause in his contract at Barcelona – moved to Inter but made just six appearances for the club during a four-year stint that included loans to Pescara, Pisa and Granada.

Each loan spell proved ultimately unsuccessful, with Manaj managing just five goals in a total of 50 appearances between the three clubs.

Manaj joined Albacete in July 2018 on loan with an obligation to buy and revived his career, scoring 10 goals in 41 appearances across all competitions for the Segunda Division side.

He now has the chance to impress at close quarters in Barcelona at a lower level of league competition than he has been plying his trade in of late, meaning he will be expected to shine.

Whilst it is improbable that he will live up to the promise that convinced Inter to sign him at just 18 years of age, Barcelona will be hoping that he does well enough to at least make the club a significant profit on their meagre investment - as evidenced by the hefty release clause inserted into the 22-year-old's contract.

However, he will be forced to compete for minutes with current central striker Abel Ruiz as well as summer signing Alejandro Marques, both of whom are three years younger than him at 19.

Manaj will hope that his experience is enough to give him the edge and secure a regular starting spot in Barcelona's lone-striker system ahead of Ruiz, who has scored just three goals and registered two assists in 18 appearances, and Marques, who has yet to find the net in 11 outings.