Barcelona have struck a deal with S.C. Braga to sign young forward Francisco Trincao in a deal worth around €31 million. The deal includes a €500m release clause.
Trincao, 20, will join Barca on July 1, when the Spanish champions will make a decision on whether to include him in the first team next season or send him out on loan.
Abel Ruiz is expected to move the other way. The young striker would join the Portuguese side on loan initially before making the move permanent at the end of the campaign.
Trincao came through the youth academy at Braga and made his first-team debut at the end of 2018. He’s been involved regularly this season, making 22 appearances in all competitions. Primarily a winger, he has scored three goals this term, including one in the Europa League as Braga progressed from their group to set up a last 32 tie against Scottish side Rangers.
Barca moved quickly to get a deal done with a host of Europe’s biggest clubs circling the Portugal U21 international.
The Catalan club are short in attack, with Luis Suarez out for four months, but sources explained to ESPN they never considered bringing Trincao in this month as they searched for a forward. Instead, they will look to get to the end of the season with just four forwards in Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele, who returned to training from a hamstring injury this week.
They had hoped to sign a striker this month to plug the gap left by Suarez but have been unable to get a deal over a line.
First choice targets Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Rodrigo Moreno proved too expensive, while the other options did not convince.
Sources have told ESPN that the club, therefore, have decided to wait until the summer when they have more room for manoeuvre and more cash to spend. Lautaro Martinez and Neymar are two of the attackers on their shortlist.
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