Barca finally sign Ajax ace to bring an end to links with Canaries star

PUBLISHED: 14:14 01 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:37 01 October 2020

Max Aarons in Championship action for Norwich at Bournemouth on Sunday 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Max Aarons in Championship action for Norwich at Bournemouth on Sunday Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Barcelona have finally completed the signing of Ajax right-back Sergino Dest in a deal worth £23.5million, seemingly putting an end to the European giants’ interest in Norwich City star Max Aarons for now.

Almost two weeks ago it emerged that Barca had approached Norwich about the England Under-21 international, before firmly turning their attentions to battling Bayern Munich for the signing of Dest.

That was due to the Canaries wanting £20m up front and a potential further £10m in add-on fees, but Barca were only willing to proceed with an initial loan with the option to make the deal permanent, rather than an obligation.

While the speculation continued, Barcelona sold Portugal right-back Nelson Semedo to Wolves for around £29million last week and the Catalan club appeared to have beaten Bayern in the race for USA international Dest soon after - but it wasn’t until this afternoon that the arrival of the 19-year-old was confirmed.

The La Liga side confirmed on their official website that the deal was for an initial 21 million euros (£19m) plus a potential further five millions euros (£4.5m) in add-on fees, also confirming he had signed a five-year contract with a huge buyout clause of 400 million euros (£365million).

With Bayern missing out on Dest - who was a USA colleague of Norwich striker Sebastian Soto at the U20 World Cup in 2019 - many media outlets have repeated a link from earlier in the year when Sky Sports Germany claimed the Bundesliga champions and Bayer Leverkusen had both been monitoring Aarons.

There has been no suggestion of Munich making a move for the 20-year-old Canaries full-back yet however, with Brighton’s emerging right-back star Tariq Lamptey linked in recent days ahead of the European transfer window closing at 11pm on Monday.

Premier League and EFL clubs will be able to continue trading until 5pm on Friday, October 16 however, when the domestic window closes.

Aarons, who is under contract until 2024, has regularly been linked with bigger clubs since emerging for City in 2018 and going on to win the EFL Young Player of the Season award.

He was capped seven times at U21 level by England last season, playing alongside top talent such as Callum Hudson-Odoi, Phil Foden and Eddie Nketiah, and played the most minutes of any outfield player as Norwich slumped to top flight relegation.

This year the Canaries academy product has also been linked with Tottenham (Express), Wolves (Mirror), Aston Villa (Telegraph), Paris Saint-Germain (Telefoot) and Italian sides AC Milan and Roma (Mail).

However, unlike team-mates Todd Cantwell and Emi Buendia, who head coach Daniel Farke left out of his squad for a 1-0 loss at Bournemouth on Sunday due to transfer distractions, Aarons has played every minute of City’s Championship campaign so far.

In comparison, Farke said Aarons had been a “role model” for the maturity he has shown despite the high profile attention and he is expected to face Derby at Carrow Road on Saturday.

It remains to be seen if the same can be said for his England U21 colleague Ben Godfrey, who has also played every minute of league action so far, but has seen City turn down a deal worth £25m from Everton in recent days.

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