Brazil midfielder Bernard has signed for Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk, turning down reported interest from north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham. A statement on the club's official website reads:
"Shakhtar Donetsk signed a 5-year deal with Bernard. The transfer fee for the Brazilian midfielder, who previously played for Atletico Mineiro, is €25m."
The 20-year-old international was also courted by Liverpool, who were reportedly preparing a similarly-sized (€25m) bid early in July. However, it was Arsenal and Tottenham that were most strongly linked to the former Atletico Mineiro star, with his father quoted in Brazilian news reports as confirming the Gunners' interest in his son.
Bernard's stock has risen this summer on the back of impressive performances for club and country. The midfielder led his club to the 2013 Copa Libertadores title earlier this month, with four goals to his name. He also played a key role in the club's 2012 Brasileirao campaign, scoring 11 goals as the side finished second to champions Fluminense.
However, later reports suggested that despite their interest, Emirates officials never made a formal bid for Bernard. Spurs made a tentative offer but later withdrew.
Mineiro president Alexandre Kalil told Radio Itatiaia Atletico: "Tottenham made an offer of €18 million (£15.7m) for Bernard but they withdrew. Arsenal told us that they would bid but never did so. So what we have now is a €25m (£21.8m) bid from Shakhtar."
Meanwhile, a war of words has erupted between the Brazilian club and the player's father, Delio Duarte.
It appears Bernard was actually holding out for a move to Portuguese champions FC Porto. Goal.com quoted his agent, Adriano Spodato, as admitting to that desire. However, Kalil insists that only Shakhtar agreed to meet his valuation of the player's services.
"Things are very advanced... the team is Shakhtar. They offered the value we want. If Bernard wants, he will go," he told reporters late in July.