Report: Barcelona to sign USMNT's Sergiño Dest from Ajax

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Sergiño Dest, the 19-year-old United States men’s national team fullback, will leave Ajax for Barcelona and sign with the Catalan giants until 2025, according to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano.

The deal is reportedly worth around $25 million with add-ons, and Romano reported it’s expected to be completed within the next 24 hours.

During the early part of this week, Bayern Munich seemed like the frontrunner to sign Dest, who was born and raised in the Netherlands. He broke into Ajax’s first team last season after representing the U.S. at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup. He made his debut for the senior U.S. side that September.

Barcelona has never featured an American player in a competitive match. Konrad de la Fuente, 19, made four appearances for Barcelona’s B team in Spain’s third tier last season, and featured for the senior team this preseason.

USMNT fullback Sergiño Dest is reportedly heading to Barcelona from Ajax. (Photo by Erwin Spek/Soccrates/Getty Images)
USMNT fullback Sergiño Dest is reportedly heading to Barcelona from Ajax. (Photo by Erwin Spek/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Recently appointed Barcelona manager Ronaldo Koeman, then the coach of the Dutch national team, attempted to lure Dest to the Oranje. Instead, he committed his international future to the USMNT. Dest had previously represented the U.S. at the U-17 level.

Now Koeman finally has his man. He was determined to land Dest before this summer’s transfer window, extended because of COVID-19, closes next month.

Barcelona may be embroiled in turmoil after Lionel Messi asked to leave the club and was denied. But the speedy, technical Dest should still have every opportunity to walk right into Koeman’s first team at right back. With Nelson Semedo off to Wolves in the Premier League, Dest’s main competition in that spot is the 28-year-old Sergi Roberto. Dest is also comfortable enough with his left foot that he can man the opposite side; he was deployed as a left back in two of his his three appearances with the USMNT.

Barcelona has a long history of signing Ajax players, most notably Johan Cruyff, who went on to manage the Blaugrana. Barca signed Frenkie de Jong from the Amsterdam club last summer for $88 million.

Dest played in 20 Eredivisie games for Ajax last season, starting 15. He also made five appearances in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.

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