Barcelona have signed a third player in as many days, with Real Betis defender Emerson Royal announced as the latest recruit
The Catalan giants unveiled striker Sergio Aguero on Monday and Eric Garcia on Tuesday, with the duo signing to join once their deals at Manchester City expire at the end of the month.
Now the LaLiga outfit have exercised the £7.8million (€9m) clause in 22-year-old Emerson’s contract at Betis, in a blow to other reported interested parties such as Arsenal, Paris-Saint Germain and AC Milan.
Barcelona and Betis agreed a unique joint-ownership deal when the Brazil international was signed from Atletico Mineiro in his home country in 2019.
Under the terms of that agreement, Emerson spent two years on loan at the Estadio Benito Villamarin, and at the end of that period Barcelona would have the chance to sign the defender permanently for a fixed fee.
A club statement read: ‘FC Barcelona have informed Real Betis Balompié that they are exercising their right to bring back Emerson Royal from 1 July after two seasons on loan at the Andalusian club.’
Emerson played 79 matches across all competitions during his spell in Seville, including 38 appearances in 2020-21 as Betis qualified for next season’s Europa League.
The signing continues Barcelona’s rebuild under president Joan Laporta, with Aguero and Garcia joining on free transfers.
Reports now suggest the Catalan giants are looking to add Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay with the duo’s contracts at Liverpool and Lyon also up at the end of the month.
But the news will come as a blow to Arsenal, who are searching for a new right-back with Hector Bellerin’s future uncertain.
Betis have been linked with a move for the Spain international as a potential replacement for Emerson, but reports suggest they are interested in a loan while the Gunners are seeking a permanent transfer.
PSG have also been linked, but reports now suggest their attention has turned to trying to seal a deal for Inter Milan star Achraf Hakimi.
Emerson’s signing signals the continuation of a good week for the club, with reports in Spain claiming star man Lionel Messi has agreed to sign a new two-year deal, while Sportsmail revealed Ronald Koeman is set to stay on as boss too.
There could be movements on outgoings too, with West Ham and Southampton said to be close to sealing a £14m move for Junior Firpo.