Sevilla winger Aleix Vidal has agreed to join Barcelona on a five-year deal, according to the Catalan daily SPORT.
The transfer will be made official next week and is believed to worth £7.2 million.
Vidal will not be fully incorporated into manager Luis Enrique’s squad until after Barcelona’s FIFA-imposed transfer ban is lifted in January 2016.
The 25-year-old will not be allowed to take part in any matches, either official or non-official. However, Vidal will be permitted to train with his new teammates.
The versatile player is seen as a potential replacement for Barcelona full-back Dani Alves, who is apparently on his way out of the club after failing to negotiate a contract extension.
Vidal began his professional career with Almeria and quickly made a name for himself as one of the better wingers in Spain. But after his transfer to Sevilla in June 2014, manager Unai Emery began utilizing the Spaniard at right-back to great success.
Just a few weeks ago, Vidal helped Sevilla become the first team in history to win the UEFA Cup/Europa League title for the fourth time. The La Liga side defeated Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 3-2 in a thrilling final in Warsaw to retain the Europa League trophy, thus securing Champions League qualification for the 2015-16 campaign.
For those readers who are questioning Barcelona’s ability to sign players despite their FIFA-imposed transfer embargo, it was reported in January that club lawyers had found loopholes which allowed the newly-crowned La Liga champions to reach agreements with players.
Barcelona lawyers uncovered two options:
The first option would be for the La Liga side to sign players, give them a normal working contract and then have them wait to play until January 2016 — similar to the circumstance this season when Luis Suarez was permitted to train with the first-team and participate in friendly matches while serving his four month FIFA-imposed ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup.
If today’s report from SPORT proves correct, this appears to be the option chosen by Sevilla’s Aleix Vidal.
The next option involves Barcelona reaching an agreement with a player, but then that individual would continue playing with his current team until January 2016. Much like when Bayern Munich reached agreements with Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski while they were at Borussia Dortmund. The players finished their seasons at Dortmund before moving on to Bayern at the conclusion of the campaign.
Programming note: Barcelona vs. Juventus will be shown today with coverage starting at 2:00pm EST on FOX and FoxSoccer2Go.