• Transfers

Official: Zenit sign Malcom from Barcelona in €40m deal

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Zenit Saint Petersburg have confirmed the signing of Barcelona forward Malcom in a deal worth up to €45m.

Malcom leaves Barcelona this summer following a difficult debut campaign, where he struggled to break into Ernesto Valverde’s line-up.

The 22-year-old, in fact, made just 24 appearances in all competitions last season. Although he did score four goals, including memorable strikes against Real Madrid and Inter Milan.

Better opportunities further down the line, though, were unlikely for Malcom. Therefore, he was left with no other alternative but to seek out a new club during the current transfer window.

A Premier League move with Arsenal appeared to be an option at one stage. Head coach Unai Emery was keen to sign a natural wide man and had been interested in Malcom along with Real Madrid’s Lucas Vazquez and Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace.

But chances of Malcom arriving at the Emirates Stadium were dashed on Thursday following the club-record €80m arrival of Nicolas Pepe.

Reports had also linked Tottenham, Everton and Borussia Dortmund to Malcom. However, it emerged on Tuesday that Zenit officials had arrived in Catalonia to begin talks with Barcelona.

Now, the Russian Premier League leaders have confirmed their capture of the Brazil U-23 international,

“Zenit and Barcelona have reached an agreement for the transfer of the Brazilian winger,” read a club statement.

“Everyone at St. Petersburg welcomes Malcom to Zenit we wish you a very successful career with the blue-white-sky blues!”

Sergei Semak’s side had to dig deep to convince Barcelona into a sale for Malcom. The club were keen to recoup the €41m they invested to sign him from Bordeaux last summer.

They had already turned down an initial offer of €35m plus €5m in adds-on. So, Zenit returned with an improved offer of €40m and bonuses of another €5m and got their man.

Malcom may debut for Zenit on Saturday night in a league match against FC Krasnodar.

SEVILLE, SPAIN – MAY 25: Malcom of FC Barcelona in action during the Spanish Copa del Rey match between Barcelona and Valencia at Estadio Benito Villamarin on May 25, 2019 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)