Spanish sides FC Barcelona and Valencia announced Thursday afternoon that they had agreed on terms to move LB Jordi Alba to Cataluña. Valencia, according to club sources, will receive €14 million for the 23-year-old left back, which is €1 million less than the official contract rescission clause of €15 million. Alba will sign for five years with Barcelona, pending a physical upon his return from Poland, where he is playing in the European Championships for Spain.
According to reports, this deal had been in the works for some time before the official announcement, with the sides haggling over the price of the player. At first, Valencia seemed unwilling to budge from the €15 million stipulated in Alba's contract, but over the course of a few weeks agreed to lower their price to €14 million. There were no performance incentives in the deal, as Valencia are a club that traditionally avoids them.
The Spanish press has dubbed the Catalan left back "one of the sensations of the tournament," and have implied that Barcelona's interest in Alba was kindled during the tournament. This is a bit misleading, however, as rumors abounded during the Liga season that Barcelona were looking to acquire Alba to bolster their weak left flank; if anything, Alba's performance at the Euros made the signing take more time--as Valencia probably used it to drive up his price (Barcelona originally bid between €10 and €12 million).
Alba spent most of his career playing for Barcelona's youth sides in La Masia. He was transferred to various Catalan teams in the mid-2000's, before finally signing with Valencia for €6000; he made his debut--and became a first-team fixture--in 2009.
When asked for his reaction to the signing, Alba seemed gleeful: "I'm happy to be coming home," he said.