Middlesbrough have completed the signing of former Barcelona and Manchester United goalkeeper Victor Valdes after manager Aitor Karanka impressed his fellow Spaniard with his plans for next season.
Boro have also been offered the chance to sign Holland international Robin van Persie, but are unlikely to follow up their initial interest in the 32-year-old, who has been told he can leave Fenerbahce.
Karanka has been one of the busiest managers in the Premier League as he looks to improve the squad promoted from the Championship last season and the capture of Valdes is a major breakthrough in his bid to address an obvious weakness.
Valdes had offers from clubs in Spain and Portugal, as well as Turkish club Besiktas, but chose to remain in the Premier League.
The Champions League winner fell out with Louis van Gaal at Manchester United after criticising the Dutchman’s coaching methods and feels he has never had a chance to prove himself in England.
Valdes’ career has stalled since he left the Nou Camp after a glittering, trophy-laden career at Barcelona and he was frozen out by van Gaal – the manager who gave him first team debut in Spain – following a row, spending the second-half of last season on loan at Belgium club Standard Liege.
The 34-year-old will compete with Dimi Konstantopoulos and Tomas Mejias at the Riverside next season, but is expected to become first choice.
He becomes Middlesbrough’s fifth signing of the summer, with more expected before the start of the season.
Dutch defensive midfielder Marten de Roon completed a £11.75m switch from Atalanta at the beginning of the week and was followed by Hearts defender Jordan McGhee on loan, although that deal will be made permanent if he impresses on Teesside.
Karanka has also convinced Danish winger Viktor Fischer to leave Ajax for £3.8m and Bernardo Espinosa has joined on a free transfer after leaving Sporting Gijon