Barcelona sign promising defender Fontas to new contract

Barcelona have signed young central defender Andreu Fontas to a new contract, keeping the 21-year-old B team player at the club until June 2013, and automatically raising his buyout clause to €30m.

The young La Masia graduate, who has played for two other teams in his youth before cementing a place with the Barcelona B team, has also been promised further opportunities to break into Pep Guardiola’s first team plans. The tall, ball-playing centre-back was thought on the verge of promotion to the senior side two years ago before Dmytro Chygrynskiy’s arrival restricted the Spanish Under-21 player to just one League and one Cup appearance in 2009-10.

Injuries to Gabriel Milito and Carles Puyol, coupled with Eric Abidal’s diagnosis of a liver tumour then saw Fontas’ first run in the senior side come towards the end of 2010-11, although predominantly out of position at left-back. With Milito now rumoured to be leaving, it is expected that Fontas will see even further first-team opportunities at centre-back.

Switched to defence from a central midfield role when aged 17, Fontas has been a key member of Luis Enrique’s team that has progressed in recent seasons to a record third place finish in 2010-11’s Segunda Division. Commanding in the air, Fontas is also comfortable in possession, naturally left-footed and has displayed good positional sense in his development under Enrique.

Where Espanyol and Atletico Madrid had expressed an interest in the player, Barcelona’s one-year contract extension falls in line with their eagerness to continue his development at the Camp Nou in 2011-12, alongside Thiago Alcantara, who also recently signed a new deal with the Catalans.

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