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Barcelona complete the €18m signing of Leganes star Martin Braithwaite

Barcelona have announced the signing of Danish striker Martin Braithwaite from Leganes for €18 million (£15m/$19m).

Braithwaite has committed to a four-and-a-half year deal with the Spanish champions, which includes a buy-out clause of €300m (£252m/$324m).

The Blaugrana triggered the release clause in Braithwaite’s contract with Leganes on Thursday morning, and he will be officially presented at Camp Nou later in the day.

The 28-year-old completed a permanent move to Leganes from Middlesbrough in the summer of 2019, after a successful six-month loan spell at Estadio Municipal de Butarque.

Braithwaite was a fixture in Javier Aguirre’s starting line-up this season, scoring six goals in 24 appearances in La Liga despite the fact the club are in the middle of an intense relegation battle.

He will now be charged with contributing to Barca’s pursuit of a third successive league title, and could be in line for his debut against Eibar on Saturday.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) granted Barca permission to sign a new forward outside of the transfer window, following a major injury setback for Ousmane Dembele.

The Frenchman has been sidelined for another six months after undergoing surgery on a hamstring injury, leaving Quique Setien short on options in the final third of the pitch.

Barca were given a 15-day window to bring in a striker from Spain or a free agent, and they moved quickly to secure Braithwaite’s signature amid links to a number of players in La Liga, including Athletic Club’s Inaki Williams and Getafe frontman Angel Rodriguez.

The Blaugrana have endured a turbulent 2019-20 campaign to date, with off-field issues often overshadowing the team’s exploits on the pitch.

Club talisman Lionel Messi was recently involved in a public spat with sporting director Eric Abidal, who accused certain members of the squad of downing tools towards the end of Ernesto Valverde’s managerial reign at Camp Nou.

Barca have also been embroiled in a social media scandal, with reports in Spain claiming that club president Josep Maria Bartomeu attempted to tarnish the reputations of key figures from the past and present, including Messi, Gerard Pique, Pep Guardiola and Xavi.

Setien’s job is to make sure his players are fully focused on this weekend’s clash with Eibar amid the background noise, with Barca currently trailing Real Madrid by a single point in the table.

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