- • Joined ESPN in 2011
• Covered two Olympics, a pair of Rugby World Cups and two British & Irish Lions tours
• Previously rugby editor, and became senior writer in 2018
Barcelona have completed the signing of USMNT right-back Sergino Dest from Ajax.
Dest, 19, joins Barca on a five-year deal, with Ajax receiving a fee of around €21 million plus a potential €5m in add-ons. A buyout clause is set at €400m.
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Dest, who will wear the No. 2 shirt, was also on Bayern Munich’s radar and, according to ESPN sources, the European champions twice travelled to Amsterdam for talks although no deal could be agreed.
Sources also told ESPN that Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman was key in agreeing to a transfer for the defender thanks to his long-standing interest.
While Koeman was manager of the Netherlands, he tried to persuade Dest to declare for the Oranje, but the player opted for the United States having played at youth level football for the U.S.
Dest, 19, arrives after spending almost a decade with Ajax where he came through the youth ranks.
It has been a remarkable rise for the defender, and while he is expected to play a starting role at Barca, sources have told ESPN the club have called for patience.
Barcelona see him as a player with all the attributes necessary to succeed at the Camp Nou, but they believe he is still developing as a player.
His arrival follows the transfer of Nelson Semedo to Wolves. Semedo’s departure earlier this window freed up funds for Barca to officially approach Dest.
Dest enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2019-20 and went from the fringes of the senior squad to being one of the most sought-after full-backs in Europe. He signed his first professional contract with Ajax in December 2018 and made his first-team debut in August 2019.
After just one season in Ajax’s first team, Dest joins Barcelona, where he will battle Sergi Roberto for the right-back slot.
Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens contributed to this report.
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