Barcelona have confirmed the signing of United States international full-back Sergiño Dest from Ajax. The 19-year-old joins the club on a five-year contract for a fee of $24.5 million, with the potential for around $6 million in add-ons further down the line. He will immediately challenge for a place in the first team and should be starting games sooner rather than later, as utility player and sometime right-back Sergi Roberto operated in the position during the Barca’s season opener—a 4-0 win at home to Villarreal.
Among the teams interested in Dest’s signature were German champions FC Bayern, a club who have already had great success moulding a young full-back with big potential into a star player in the shape of Canadian left-back Alphonso Davies.
Concrete links with the Bavarians surfaced in February, and have rumbled on since. A move to Bayern appeared a dead cert at one point, and the signing of Dest would complete the symmetry on the flanks for the European champions, but Barcelona was the bigger draw for the American who has always wanted to play in La Liga, and for Barca in particular.
The Catalan club have been looking to strengthen this area of the team for some time. The sale of Portuguese right-back Nelson Semedo to English Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier in the transfer window leaves the door open for Dest to make the right-back spot his own. One of the most exciting possibilities for Dest, this season at least, will be the prospect of linking up with Lionel Messi.
Each version Messi can induce awe in an audience as he transitions between goalscorer, playmaker, and unstoppable dribbler. But arguably the best and most complete version of the Argentine, the one that made him really stand out as one of the best to ever play the game, was the one that worked in tandem with Brazilian right-back, Dani Alves. Messi likes playing alongside an attacking right wing-back who also has the ability to link the play.
At this stage, comparisons between Dest and Alves cannot be made when it comes to their level of football, but they can be made when it comes to style