Marc Bartra will leave Barcelona this summer to join Borussia Dortmund for an €8 million fee, it was confirmed on Friday.
The Blaugrana posted the following bulletin on their Twitter feed, noting the player is set to depart after spending his entire career at the Camp Nou:
Spanish football journalist Graham Hunter noted the player would be joining the German club, with a bid of the aforementioned sum triggering a clause in Bartra's contract.
In a statement on the club’s website, Barcelona wish the 25-year-old well for the next chapter: “FC Barcelona wish Marc Bartra all the best in his new phase of his career as a player and he will be invited to say goodbye to the fans personally at the start of next season.”
The club’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, posted the following message of goodwill on his Twitter feed:
The statement notes the club were “obliged” to sell the defender in keeping with the terms of his contract. No doubt it’ll be a sad day for Bartra too, who started his Barcelona career as a 12-year-old in the revered La Masia academy.
But it’s a transfer that’s been a long time coming. The centre-back has fallen down the pecking order under manager Luis Enrique, with Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano and Jeremy Mathieu all preferred to Bartra at the heart of the defence. With the Spain international playing just 496 minutes of league football this season, a switch was inevitable this summer.
Spanish football writer Sergi Dominguez thinks figures behind the scenes weren’t keen on the defender:
BVB boss Thomas Tuchel evidently is, though, and the club will be delighted to have secured a deal for a player with such pedigree for such a meagre sum. After all, Bartra has been part of five La Liga wins, two UEFA Champions League triumphs and a couple of Copa del Rey successes too; he’ll bring high standards to the Westfalenstadion.
It’s a capture that’s necessary for Dortmund as well. Tuchel will be without Mats Hummels next season, as Bayern Munich pinched the club’s former captain recently. Bartra, who is an elegant, ball-playing defender at his best, will be tasked with taking over Hummels' role in the XI.
Bleacher Report’s Sam Tighe thinks he’ll be a superb fit for Dortmund, who will look to challenge Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga title next term:
For Bartra it’ll be galling to leave Barcelona after so long, especially having failed to live up to the potential he showed from an early age. He’ll recognise that this is a tremendous opportunity for him, though, with a chance to establish himself as a key man at an illustrious club.
Dortmund have been conducting some quietly savvy business too, with Bartra joining Ousmane Dembele in the squad for next season. Tuchel may be without Ilkay Gundogan and Hummels in 2016-17, but it’s evident he’s not wasting any time in his attempts to compensate for those losses.