Brighton have completed the signing of Ansu Fati on loan from Barcelona.
The 20-year-old Spain international has signed a season-long loan at the American Express Community Stadium but there is no option to buy included in the deal.
Brighton are paying 80 per cent of his Barca contract over 10 months until the end of next June – that adds to £160,000 per week for a total of £7m.
Fati has made over 100 appearances for the LaLiga giants since making his debut as a 16-year-old in August 2019.
Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi said: “I’m very pleased, it’s a big player. We lost Enciso and we needed one big player.
“We are lucky because we have a lot of young players, potential top players and it will be one responsibility more.
“If you work with this talent, you have much responsibility because it’s our football heritage and we can’t make mistakes with these players because football needs this talent and you have to manage it in different ways.
“I’ve always thought like this. Especially for the big, big talent, I feel the responsibility to help this talent to become great players.
“Sometimes the coaches think only of the result, only of their career but football needs to have great players. It’s a big responsibility and I feel it.
“I think our style is very close with his characteristics, with his qualities.”
Ansu, who made 36 LaLiga appearances last season as Barcelona secured their first title for four years, joined the club’s famed academy La Masia aged 10.
The 20-year-old enjoyed further success by winning the Spanish Super Cup, as well as the UEFA Nations League with Spain last season. He also made two appearances at the FIFA World Cup with Spain, who he has represented at senior level nine times, scoring two goals.
Brighton technical director David Weir said: “We are delighted to bring Ansu to the club. He is one of the most highly-rated young players in the world and arrives with an impressive amount of experience both domestically and in European competition, despite his age.
“This season is the biggest in the club’s history and we’re really happy that a player of Ansu’s quality is going to be part of it. We will give him the opportunity to embed himself in the squad and to get used to working with Roberto, but naturally we’re excited to see him in a Brighton shirt.”
‘Fati signing a compliment to Brighton’s style’
Paul Merson on Sky Sports News:
“It’s a compliment to Brighton and the way they play. They do it year in year out with the players they recruit.
“I like what they do. They play total soccer. He’ll fit in.
“With everybody it’s how are they going to settle in. But he’s played at Barcelona. I’m sure he’ll be singing off the same hymn sheet as the Brighton players if he did at Barcelona.”
Why Fati to Brighton makes sense
There are many aspects to the Brighton success story. It is a triumph of club building, controlling the pace of change, mature and intelligent leadership. More recently, their recruitment in markets from South America to the Far East has been celebrated.
The loan signing of Ansu Fati is a little different. This is no gem unearthed, this is a player who had been widely tipped to become a world superstar from the age of 16 when he became Barcelona’s youngest player for 80 years, their youngest-ever scorer.
His journey to Brighton is not one from obscurity but from La Masia, the most famed academy in the game. Almost from the moment that he made his stunning breakthrough in August 2019, excitement abounded. That hyperbole quickly became difficult to quell.
Read Adam Bate’s feature in full here
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