Barcelona seal deal for Sevilla midfielder Keita

May 26, 2008

Barcelona technical secretary Txiki Begiristain feels new signing Seydou Keita will add real bite to the Primera Liga club's midfield next season.

The Catalan club completed the signing of Keita from Spanish rivals Sevilla on a four-year contract on Monday.

And Begiristain told El Periodico the player will give the team a greater physical presence in the centre of the pitch.

He said: 'Keita is strong defensively and aggressive when closing down; he's left-footed and gives us that balance between left and right-footed players.

'Furthermore he tackles well, he's strong and physically he's in good shape. He shoots well from long range and with headers. He's a complete player and we have to get the most out of that.'

Barcelona are looking to strengthen their squad after a second successive season without a trophy - a run which cost former coach Frank Rijkaard his job.

Yaya Toure had been the club's only genuine defensive midfielder, with the likes of Deco, Xavi and Lionel Messi all forward-thinking players, so Keita's acquisition helps to address that issue.

The 28-year-old impressed at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan this season after signing from Lens last summer.

He scored three goals in the Andalucian club's Champions League campaign and added another four in 31 Primera Liga games.

Barca are thought to have paid around 14million euros for the Mali international, and the Catalan giants revealed his contract contains a 90million euro buy-out clause.

Keita expressed his delight at finally completing his move to the Nou Camp, revealing that he had turned down other offers to do so.

'I am very happy because Barcelona is a great club,' he told Barca TV. 'My decision is very important because I had offers from many clubs, but I have liked Barca for a long time.

'Everything was very easy since I wanted to play for Barca. What was most difficult was the agreement between Sevilla and Barcelona.'

Keita was unwilling to say too much about the move though, claiming he would let his feet do the talking.

'I don't like speaking because I think that in football you don't have to speak a lot off the pitch,' he added.

'I only want to say that I hope to bring a lot to Barca, as much and in the same way that I did in Sevilla.'