Barcelona have finally completed the arrangements for the long-awaited arrival of Brazilian sensation Vitor Roque from South American outfit Athletico Paranaense.
The 18-year-old striker arrived at Barca earlier today and is anticipated to link up with Xavi Hernandez’s squad as early as Thursday.
The La Liga title holders secured the teenager’s signature last summer, edging out several high-profile European clubs after a nail-biting transfer battle.
The Blaugrana will pay their Brazilian counterparts a fixed fee of €30 million, while Roque is set to earn a mouth-watering €31m in add-ons, including Ballon d’Or-related bonuses.
The initial deal Barca struck with Athletico was for Roque to move to Spain next summer, but the club’s need for attacking reinforcement forced an expedited transfer.
The January move has been threatened by Barca’s crumbling finances but they’ve found a way around it to ensure Roque can add another dimension to Xavi’s struggling squad this season.
The Catalan giants have endured a torrid title defence riddled with injury problems across every department, and it hasn’t helped that Robert Lewandowski’s goalscoring form has nosedived.
Roque is seen as a long-term replacement for the 35-year-old, who has bagged just nine goals in 21 games across all competitions, spurning a staggering 16 big chances this term.
Barca will be hoping Roque doesn’t take too long to adapt to the requirements of Spanish football as they look to get their title defence back on track.
Xavi’s side have won just two of their last five competitive fixtures in all competitions and sit fourth on the La Liga rankings, seven points adrift of joint leaders Real Madrid and Girona.
Roque could make his debut on January 4 when Barca travel to Gran Canaria to take on Las Palmas, but he’ll likely start the game on the bench.
He’s more likely to be handed a full debut in the subsequent Copa del Rey match against Union Deportiva Barbastro three days later.
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