world soccer 17.8.2018 10:31 am

Marlon Santos leaves Barcelona for Sassuolo

Marlon Santos #5 of FC Barcelona kicks the ball during the International Champions Cup match against AC Milan at Levi's Stadium on August 4, 2018 in Santa Clara, California.   Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images/AFP

Marlon Santos #5 of FC Barcelona kicks the ball during the International Champions Cup match against AC Milan at Levi's Stadium on August 4, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images/AFP

Barcelona and Brazil defender Marlon completed a move to Serie A side Sassuolo Thursday on the eve of the closure of the transfer window in Italy.

The 23-year-old underwent a medical with the side from Modena agreeing a five-year deal worth 12 million euros ($13.6 million).

Sassuolo will pay six million euros now and a further six million more if the Brazilian plays 50 games for the club with the Catalan giants retaining a buy-back option and 50 percent of any future fee.

The former Brazil Under-20 international, who spent last season on loan at Nice, could make his Serie A debut at home to Inter this Sunday.

Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina joined Napoli with Villarreal’s Samu Castillejo and Genoa’s Diego Laxalt completing medicals at AC Milan among a late flurry of action before the transfer deadline.

Colombian international Ospina’s arrival comes amid criticism from fans at the lack of spending by new coach Carlo Ancelotti’s Serie A runners-up compared to champions Juventus who splashed out 100 million euro ($117 million) to bring Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo to Turin.

There are fears slim pickings including goalkeeper Alex Meret, midfielder Fabian Ruiz and forward Simone Verdi may not be enough for Napoli to keep pace with rivals Juventus, Inter and AC Milan.

Juventus top the summer spending with 235 million euros ($265 million) invested in new players — more than double rivals AS Roma and Napoli — as Serie A clubs have already spent more than a billion euros, second among the top five European leagues behind the big-spending English Premier League.

With the transfer window slamming shut in Italy at 8:00pm (1800 GMT) on Friday, Serie A teams have time to overtake the 1.037 billion euros spent last summer.

Ospina — who had fallen out of favour in London after the signing of Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen — will cover for Meret, who broke his arm in training last month.

Gennaro Gattuso’s AC Milan have had some late signings with Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, Laxalt and Castillejo arriving at the San Siro.

Bakayoko has agreed a season-long loan which could be turned into a permanent move.

Spaniard Castillejo, 23, reportedly agreed a deal to leave Villarreal on loan with obligation to buy for 18 million euros, with Carlos Bacca going the other way.

Left-back Laxalt completed his Milan medical, and can officially sign from Genoa.

For Gattuso, the dream of the final hours of the market remains Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, to back up new signing Gonzalo Higuain and Patrick Cutrone.

At city rivals Inter Milan, hopes of signing Real Madrid’s Croatian international midfielder Luka Modric are fading, with Roma’s Radja Nainggolan and Argentina striker Lautaro Martinez among the big summer arrivals.

After the departure of Nainggolan and goalkeeper Alisson to Liverpool, Champions League semi-finalists Roma have boosted their squad with winger Justin Kluivert, midfielder Javier Pastore and French World Cup winner Steven Nzonzi from Sevilla.

“We did what we wanted, we moved quickly to have the squad straight away, then we continued to monitor the market for opportunities,” explained Roma sporting director Monchi at Nzonzi’s presentation at the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday.

“I’m happy, even if you can always do better.

“We are not a team that sells only, we are the club that spent the third most. I’ve never had a “no” from the club management for the players I wanted.

“We have the ambition and a plan to take Roma as high as possible.”

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