Paris kick off with Berchiche capture
Paris Saint-Germain have made their first signing of the summer, landing left-back Yuri Berchiche from La Liga side Real Sociedad on a four-year deal worth a reported €14m. He will wear the number 17 shirt for the capital club.
Berchiche, 27, is the first of what many assume to be a raft of summer signings as Paris Saint-Germain look to build the right squad to re-take their Ligue 1 title. Following the departure of veteran Maxwell at the end of last season, the club were on the look-out for a suitable player to share duties at left-back with Layvin Kurzawa, and the former Spain U17 international fitted the bill.
Al-Khelaïfi: 'Quality and power'
"We wish Yuri Berchiche the warmest of welcomes," said Paris Saint-Germain Chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaïfi on the club's official website. "His excellent performances in Spain convinced is that he is a defender with a character suited to Paris Saint-Germain and its ambitions. His competitive nature is the kind that counts for a lot in the eyes of our fans. Through his experience and his drive to succeed at a big European club, he will bring a lot of quality and power to our squad."
Berchiche, who played a key role in Sociedad's sixth-placed La Liga finish last season, making 35 appearances (three goal, four assists), is something of a journeyman despite his relatively young age. Joining the Tottenham Hotspur youth academy at the age of 17, he was loaned out to Cheltenham Town (D3) and Valladolid before signing for Real Unión and then Real Sociedad.
On the rise
His first two seasons with the Basque club saw him loaned out to SD Eibar, but in 2015 he returned to his parent club and carved out a place for himself, drawing the attention of many big clubs, including the French juggernaut Paris Saint-Germain.
"I'm extremely happy and I can't wait to join Paris Saint-Germain," said Berchiche, who will play under the orders of fellow Basque Unai Emery at his new club, after signing his new deal. "It will be an honour to wear the jersey of this club, which has become one of the best and most admired in Europe. I’m convinced that I will find here the perfect environment in which to reach my potential - by making progress and winning titles. Everyone knows how ambitious Paris Saint-Germain is in Europe. In conjunction with the staff and players, I will do all I can to help fly the Paris Saint-Germain flag as high as possible."