Barcelona have reportedly completed their third free transfer of the summer with the arrival of Memphis Depay from French club Lyon. The Catalan club had already signed Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia after the two players' contracts had expired with Manchester City.
The La Liga club had been on the trail of the Dutch forward since January, but decided to wait it out until the summer rather than pay a fee to Lyon. According to Catalan media outlet Beteve, Depay has finally agreed terms with Barcelona.
The Dutch attacker will be Ronald Koeman's fourth signing of the summer. Apart from the two free transfers of Aguero and Garcia, the Catalan side has also decided to activate the buyback clause of Emerson Royal, who spent the last two seasons with Real Betis.
It was journalist Lluis Canut, who is rumoured to have a connection to manager Ronald Koeman, who made the claim about Depay's signing. He was showering praise on the Lyon forward during The Netherlands' 3-2 win over Ukraine at the European Championship.
Canut was jokingly asked to limit his praise so as to not endanger Barcelona's chances of signing Depay - referring to the Catalan side recently losing out to Paris Saint-Germain for Geoginio Wijnaldum. He then shot back saying that he was only praising the attacker because he had already signed for Barcelona.
Koeman is desperate to strengthen his forward line after seeing his team fall away in last season's the title race in the final weeks of the campaign. The arrival of Aguero and now Depay is certain to give them fresh impetus next season.
Depay had attracted interest from another European giant - Juventus. The Serie A club had earmarked him as an ideal replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, who has not committed his future to the Turin club amid speculation that he could leave this summer.
However, it looks like Barcelona have won the race for the Dutchman's signature, leaving Massimiliano Allegri to look elsewhere for reinforcements in the event that his top scorer leaves.
Meanwhile, with all the attention on the incoming players, Barcelona are also reportedly preparing for a few high profile exits this summer. Philippe Coutinho is expected to be among the big names set to leave Camp Nou after failing to impress since joining from Liverpool for a club record fee.
As per Mundo Deportivo, a return to the Premier League is mooted with Leicester City showing interest in signing Coutinho. Brendan Rodgers, who managed the Brazil international during his time with Liverpool, is said to be keen on a reunion at the King Power Stadium.
The 2021 FA Cup winners are ready to bid around £17 million to test Barcelona's resolve. However, if a fee cannot be agreed, they are also willing to explore a loan deal for the creative midfielder similar to the deal Bayern Munich agreed the season before last.
Barcelona are struggling to raise funds owing to the effects of the ongoing pandemic. They are focusing on smart free transfers, while also looking to slash the club's wage bill, which will allow them to spend money on signing Koeman's priority targets this summer.