Barcelona have confirmed the signing of Canadian teenager Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla from the Montreal Impact.
Ballou, 18, joins the Catalan club’s B team on an initial three-year deal with his buyout clause set at €25 million. There’s also a clause in his contract which would allow the club to extend his terms by an additional two years, which would in turn see the clause rise to €75m.
Barca have not confirmed the cost of the deal, merely saying that “an agreement was reached with Montreal Impact for the transfer of Ballou.”
The Canada under-20 international arrived in Spain on Wednesday and underwent a medical on Thursday, later signing his contract at the club’s offices.
“This first transfer is an important moment in the history and evolution of our club,” Montreal Impact president Joey Saputo said. “We take a lot of pride in seeing a young player, developed in our academy, climb the ladder all the way to the first team and realise his dream to play in Europe with a big club like Barcelona.”
Ballou — the youngest player in the Impact’s history to take part in an MLS game — will now join up with Gerard Lopez’s Barca B side, who are fighting against the drop in the second tier of Spanish football.
They’re currently 19th in the table, which is the final of the four relegation positions. However, there are just five points between them and Tenerife, who are 11th.
It’s been a busy month for Barca B, with Ballou becoming their fourth winter signing after the arrivals of Martin Hongla, Christian Rivera and Nahuel.
Born in Ivory Coast, Ballou moved to Canada as a child and initially joined Montreal in 2012.
After a spell with amateur side CS Panellinios, he returned to the Impact in 2015 and last season was his first with the club’s first team. In total he made 21 appearances, scoring two goals as the Impact finished ninth in the Eastern Conference.
He could make his debut in Saturday’s home game against Granada at the Mini Estadi, with matches against Cordoba, Alcorcon and Lugo following in the coming weeks.
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.