Barca sign striker Braithwaite outside transfer window

Barcelona have signed Denmark striker Martin Braithwaite from fellow La Liga side Leganes for 18 million euros (15.08 million pounds) after receiving permission from the league’s organising body to acquire a player outside the transfer window.

The Spanish champions said in a statement on Thursday they had paid the player’s release clause and he will join the club until June 2024, with a buy-out clause of 300 million euros.

The 28-year-old Denmark international will be officially unveiled at the Camp Nou later on Thursday.

Barca decided not to sign a forward in the January transfer window after Luis Suarez was ruled out for four months following knee surgery but need another striker after French international Ousmane Dembele ruptured his hamstring.

Dembele was ruled out for six months after surgery earlier this month and, unlike in other major European leagues, clubs in Spain are allowed to sign a player outside the transfer window under special circumstances.

Braithwaite began his career with Danish side Esbjerg, later moving to Ligue 1 club Toulouse and then English outfit Middlesbrough, also playing on loan for Girondins Bordeaux.

He has made 39 appearances for Denmark, including four matches at the 2018 World Cup.

The striker joined Leganes on loan in January 2019, completing a permanent move for a reported 5 million euros last June.

The transfer further weakens Leganes, who are second from bottom in La Liga and have only scored 18 times in the league this season. Braithwaite had scored six of those goals.

Leganes have been forced to part ways with their two key strikers since the turn of the year after Youssef En-Nesyri left in January when Sevilla paid his 20 million-euro release clause.

The Moroccan had scored four league goals for the club.

“The truth is we are very worried,” Leganes sporting director Felipe Moreno said on Tuesday when news broke that Barca wanted to sign Braithwaite.

“After what happened with En-Nesyri, avoiding relegation is looking harder each day.”

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