Barcelona have tied up the signing of Valencia's Portuguese midfielder Andre Gomes for a reported fee of €40 million. This makes the fourth signing the Catalans have made this summer, every single player 22 years of age.
Gomes was a member of Portugal's European Championship-winning team, taking home the trophy despite a rather disappointing overall showing in the tournament. This was after a below-par campaign with Valencia, playing 30 games and managing three goals on the season. Linked to Real Madrid and Juventus before the tournament, Barcelona swooped to secure the center-midfielder's signing, adding yet another young jewel to their Blaugrana crown.
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Gomes is a rangy box-to-box midfielder, capable of playing on the wing, but best suited through the center with freedom to sweep up and down the field at will. Blessed with a great engine, elegant skill on the ball, and the ability to pick a pass, Gomes is raw, but has the potential to become one of Europe's best all-around midfielders.
At 6 feet 1 inch, Gomes is a threat in the air, but thrives with the ball on the floor, using his superb technique and dribbling ability to bamboozle defenders. An intelligent player, Gomes should fit right in with Barcelona's style, though he does have some maturation ahead of him to truly be at the level Nou Camp traditionally expects.
With an aging midfield and Arda Turan likely on his way out of the club, Gomes' signing provides much-needed depth, and he'll battle Ivan Rakitic for a starting spot in Barcelona's three-man midfield. His versatility will benefit the Blaugrana as well, able to line up in any of five midfield spots, or even as a striker in a real pinch.
At 22 years old, Gomes represents another exclamation point on Barcelona's clear statement this summer: they're getting younger, and they're not afraid to spend the money intelligently to sign players that will take them into the future. Gomes may be a bit overpriced at €40 million, but in today's market, a few extra million is just the cost of doing business.
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