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No longer the ‘new Messi’ … Brighton make surprise swoop for Barcelona's Ansu Fati on loan

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Brighton and Hove Albion landed a major coup on Friday when they signed Barcelona‘s young star Ansu Fati on a season-long loan.

Fati was regarded as one of the most promising talents in Europe when he burst onto the scene with Barcelona four years ago.

But the 20-year-old forward had fallen down the pecking order at the Spanish giants recently and has surprisingly opted to move to the Amex Stadium in a bid to revive his career.

“This is a great deal for all of us. I am sure Ansu will help us to reach a new target and we can help him get back to the level he deserves to be,” Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi said.

Fati’s signing is a big boost to Premier League side Brighton, who will be playing European football this season for the first time after qualifying for the Europa League.

Having signed from Sevilla as a 10-year-old in 2012, Fati became Barcelona’s second youngest ever player when he came on as a substitute against Real Betis in 2019.

Six days later, he became Barca’s youngest goalscorer when he netted against Osasuna.

In September 2019, he became Barca’s youngest Champions League player and his goal against Inter Milan in December that year made him the youngest goalscorer in Champions League history.

He made 36 La Liga appearances last season for Barca as they secured their first title for four years.

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Born in Guinea-Bissau, Fati helped Spain with the UEFA Nations League earlier this year and appeared in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Fati is under contract with Barca until 2027 and has a reported one billion euros release clause in that deal.

Barca said there was no option for a permanent transfer to Brighton as part of the loan arrangement.

AFP

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