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Barcelona pay £11m to take Jordi Alba back home


Barcelona have strengthened their defence and found a replacement for Eric Abidal by sealing an agreement with Valencia to sign the Spain full-back Jordi Alba on a five-year contract.

The deal is worth €14m (£11.2m) and is subject to the 23-year-old left-back, a Barcelona youth academy graduate currently with the national squad at Euro 2012, passing a medical, the club said on their official Twitter feed.

Barça were in the market for a left-sided full-back after Abidal underwent a liver transplant earlier this year and it remains uncertain whether the France international will be able to return.

Alba made his debut for Spain against Scotland in Alicante in October and has since made the left-back position, vacated by Joan Capdevila, his own, earning 10 caps.

Born in the same Catalan town as keeper Victor Valdes, he started out in the club's youth ranks but was released and joined regional league side UE Cornella before Valencia snapped him up at the age of 17 for €6m.

Alba has been a big threat to Spain's opponents at the finals in Poland and Ukraine as they bid to retain their continental title.