Barcelona sign Vitor Roque, 18, in €40m deal

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Barcelona have confirmed the signing of forward Vitor Roque from Athletico-PR for a fee of around €40 million ($44m).

ESPN reported last week that Barca had agreed a deal with the Brazilian club and Roque, 18, has penned a contract with the Catalan club until the end of the 2030-31 season, although it remains undecided when he will link up with his new teammates.

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Roque’s release clause has been set at €500m.

Barca president Joan Laporta has said the plan, due to the club’s financial restrictions this summer, is for the forward to join either in January or next summer, remaining with Athletico until then.

However, with the transfer window open until Sept. 1 and Barca still keen to move on players to invest elsewhere in the squad, it has not been ruled out that the deal could be brought forward if possible.

Roque becomes Barca’s third signing this summer following the arrivals of Ilkay Gundogan and Inigo Martinez as free agents after the expiration of their contracts with Manchester City and Athletic Club, respectively.

With Robert Lewandowski turning 35 in August, Barca made finding a backup and potential heir to the Poland striker one of their priorities this summer.

ESPN reported in June that Roque had emerged as their top target. Negotiations, led by sporting director Deco, accelerated soon after.

Roque caught Barca’s attention after starring for the Athletico and Brazil youth teams. He helped his club reach the final of the Copa Libertadores last season and recently earned his first senior cap for his country.

The teenager has scored 22 goals in 65 appearances for Athletico, including six in his past six games.

“Goals,” Laporta told Mundo Deportivo on Tuesday when asked what Barca can expect from Roque.

“He very much has his own style. You can’t really compare him with [retired Brazil strikers] Ronaldo or Romario. He is someone that is deadly with both feet inside the box.

“He is different to what we have had here before. If you had to compare him to anyone, it would be Ronaldo, who was a force of nature with us. [Roque] has bags of potential, is young, powerful and Brazilian.”

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