Barcelona have completed the signing of Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi on a four-year contract for an African-record transfer fee of £90m.
The Nigerian had been continually linked with a move away from the Emirates Stadium, and had declined to clarify his own future as the Barcelona reports grew stronger.
And after weeks of denials, he has finally been confirmed as the Spanish topflight club’s latest signing on Monday morning.
Iwobi flew into Barcelona by private jet on Sunday evening to complete a medical at the club’s training base and pen personal terms.
The 22-year-old joins the elusive list of Africans to join the Catalans after Emmanuel Amuneke, Samuel Eto’o, Alexander Song, Gbenga Okunowo, Yaya Toure and Seydou Keita.
“I am delighted to be joining Barcelona this season,” Iwobi told media.
“Barcelona is the biggest club in the world and I am looking forward to working with Ernesto Valverde, Lionel Messi and contributing to the team’s success at this very exciting period in the club’s history.”
Valverde said the signing of Iwobi was key to his plans to strengthen the club and believes the player can join the list of Blaugrana greats.
“Alex is one of the best players in the world and will be a key part of the Barca team I want to build here for the future,” he said.
“He is quick, strong, skillful and reads the game better than many players much older than he is. At 22, he has the chance to make that position his own here over many years.
“He is young and will continue to improve; he has the chance to be at the heart of this club for the next decade and beyond.”
Jeison Murillo, who currently wears the number 17 shirt at Barcelona, has agreed to vacate the number as “a symbolic gift” to his new team-mate.
Alex Iwobi is one of the players nominated for the Aiteo-NFF Awards taking place today in Lagos.
Happy April Fool’s day!!