Valencia reinforce defence with Victor Ruiz and Antonio Barragan

Valencia confirmed the signing of Spanish Under-21 centre-back Victor Ruiz and right-back Antonio Barragan today, as they continue to strengthen ahead of the new season.

The 22-year-old joins from Italians Napoli on a five-year contract, ending an unsuccessful six-month spell on the peninsula that saw him gain just four first-team appearances for the Azzurri.

Before his €6m move to Naples, the Catalan-born Ruiz burst on to the scene in 18 months at Espanyol as an intelligent and technically-proficient centre-back and has been capped five times at Under-21 level. Napoli are understood to have made as much as a €2m profit in selling the youngster back to the Spanish League.

Ruiz arrives as the second centre-back of the summer after Adil Rami, and as AS reports, will in fact be the 13th centre-back to have worked under Unai Emery. Central defence is often cited as a problem area for the Coach during his time at Mestalla, but it is interesting to note that few clubs outside Barcelona and Real Madrid have conceded fewer League goals across the last three seasons than Los Che under Emery.

However, but for Roberto Soldado’s hat-trick at the weekend, the team’s first home game of 2011-12 would have been characterised for the vulnerable state visitors Racing Santander left it looking in, as they managed to score three times in Valencia’s 4-3 win.

Ruiz’ arrival has also been quickly followed by that of Valladolid’s Antonio Barragan for a €1.5m fee. Also on a five-year contract, Barragan is a 24-year-old right-back that Valencia’s technical director Braulio Vazquez has talked up this week as being more than capable of making the jump in level to the Champions League side.

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