Barcelona will officially unveil Martin Braithwaite as their latest signing on Thursday, when he will put pen to paper on a contract until 2024 that includes a €300 million buyout clause.
The Denmark international will cost the Catalans €18 million, the total of his buyout clause. Braithwaite joins from fellow La Liga club Leganes.
Barcelona were able to sign the 28-year-old outside of the transfer window thanks to a rule that allows La Liga clubs to make moves for injury cover. Per Sport, they were given permission to add a replacement for Ousmane Dembele on Monday.
Under La Liga rules, clubs can only add players who are free agents or who are already registered in Spain.
Braithwaite has netted six times for Leganes in La Liga this season, leading the way for the team. He previously played for Esbjerg, Toulouse and Middlesbrough.
The move is somewhat controversial, with Leganes powerless to prevent their most productive forward from leaving because of a mandatory buyout clause. They are in the midst of a battle against relegation and can’t sign a replacement outside the transfer window.
As the London Evening Standard’s Ben Hayward observed, the minnows have lost two of their best players in the space of a little more than a month, with Youssef En-Nesyri joining Sevilla in January:
Leganes were not happy to see Braithwaite go:
Barcelona parted with Abel Ruiz and Carles Perez in January and failed to sign replacements, leaving them dangerously low on depth. Luis Suarez has been sidelined since January 9, and Dembele had surgery to fix a hamstring issue earlier in February, per Barcelona’s official website.
Braithwaite will provide valuable depth for a team that has been too reliant on Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Ansu Fati of late. All three have shown signs of fatigue, and they may now be able to rest their legs ahead of the stretch run.