It’s official. After months of chasing him, Barcelona have finally confirmed the signing of young star Fabio Blanco from Eintracht Frankfurt.
The 17-year-old winger previously played for Valencia’s academy and was pursued by both Barcelona and Real Madrid when he decided to leave this summer, only for Blanco to choose Frankfurt instead.
❗️ [ÚLTIMA HORA]
✍️ Fabio Blanco, new referee for Barça B
? What do you need to know? https://t.co/6Hws0yNiZb #ForçaBarça? ❤️
– FC Barcelona B (@FCBarcelonaB) January 8, 2022
Blanco was a regular in the U-19 team in Germany during the first half of the season but has now returned to Spain with Barcelona, who confirmed that he has a release clause of 100 million euros in his two and a half year contract.
“I’m very proud to be a part of this fantastic club,” said Blanco, whose plan is to send him to Barça B initially.
Given that he goes straight into the reserves, it may take a while before Blanco really gets a taste of senior life at the Camp Nou, but Xavi has not been afraid to call academy kids if they deserve an opportunity; Blanco hopes to take advantage of that.
Blanco is a right-back for his industry and has played on both wings of Spain’s youth team, where he has played alongside current Barcelona stars Gavi and Ilias Akhomach.
He created his name through his outstanding dribbling and technical ability (and hair) at the Valencia Academy, and tore his way through defense after defense with ease. Unsurprisingly, teams started noticing pretty quickly.
Youth football soon became too easy for Blanco, who wanted a bigger challenge and was prepared to leave Valencia to find it. A who-is-who of European giants made offers, including Barcelona, but Blanco backed up his ability to shine in senior football immediately and headed out to Frankfurt, who are believed to have promised him a fair shot in senior minutes.
Unfortunately, he chose a tumultuous time to go to Germany. Shortly after he agreed to sign, Eintracht got a new manager, sports director and chairman, none of whom had actually been involved in the decision to recruit him.
Blanco trained with the Eintracht seniors but was always left out by coach Oliver Glasner, and given that they have no reserve team, he got to play with the U-19 – no better than he had it in Valencia.
It all got a little messy and an exit in January seemed to be safe quite early, and Barcelona went fast to ensure that they finally got hold of Blanco.
Blanco will immediately fill the void in Barça B left by Ez Abde, Ferran Jutgla and Ilias’ move to the senior squad, but Xavi will no doubt keep a close eye on Blanco and may turn to him sooner rather than later.
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