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Alba's starring role earns Barcelona switch

Barcelona have strengthened their defence and found a replacement for Eric Abidal by sealing an agreement with Valencia to sign the Spain full-back Jordi Alba on a five-year contract.

The deal is worth €14m (£11.2m) and is subject to the 23-year-old left-back, a Barcelona youth academy graduate currently with the national squad at Euro 2012, passing a medical.

Barca were in the market for a left-sided full-back after Abidal underwent a liver transplant and it remains uncertain whether the France international will be able to return.

Born in the same Catalan town as goalkeeper Victor Valdes, he started out in the club's youth ranks but was released and joined regional league side UE Cornella before Valencia snapped him up at the age of 17 for €6m.

Alba has been a big threat to Spain's opponents at the finals in Poland and Ukraine as they bid to retain their continental title.

Frank Rijkaard has said he has no interest in managing Holland for the time being, after Bert van Marwijk stepped down from his role on Wednesday night following a disappointing Euro 2012.

But Perry Overeem, Rijkaard's agent, stated that the former Barcelona boss remains dedicated to his head coach duties at Saudi Arabia.

Irish Independent