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Barcelona's Ernesto Valverde says Jeison Murillo signing no knock on academy

Lionel Messi and Barcelona made quick work of Levante, as the league leaders further solidified their position atop the table with another three points.

BARCELONA, Spain -- Ernesto Valverde fought back against criticism that Barcelona's signing of Jeison Murillo serves as a snub to the club's academy.

Barca confirmed the arrival of Murillo from Valencia on a six-month loan on Thursday due to injuries to Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen.

The short-term deal has provoked complaints among some supporters, who feel Valverde should have instead turned Chumi, Jorge Cuenca or Oscar Mingueza, who play for the club's reserve team in the Spanish third division.

"We...

Barcelona reach loan deal for Valencia centre-back Jeison Murillo

Lionel Messi and Barcelona made quick work of Levante, as the league leaders further solidified their position atop the table with another three points.

Barcelona have reached an agreement with Valencia to sign centre-back Jeison Murillo on loan until the end of the season, the Spanish champions have confirmed.

Sources revealed to ESPN FC earlier on Thursday that talks were ongoing between the two clubs to close an operation ahead of the January transfer window, with Valencia holding out for a fee in the region of €2 million for the six-month loan.

The deal also includes an option for the move to be made permanent in the summer for €25m....

ESPN FC  By ESPN

Valencia sign Colombia defender Jeison Murillo from Inter Milan

Jeison Murillo moved to Inter Milan in the summer of 2015.

Valencia have signed defender Jeison Murillo from Inter Milan, the club confirmed on Friday.

The Colombia international spent two seasons with Inter after impressing at the Copa America in 2015, but couldn't find space in new coach Luciano Spalletti's setup.

Valencia, who opened their La Liga season with a 1-0 victory over Las Palmas on Friday, announced the news in an issued statement.

"Valencia have reached an agreement with Inter for the transfer for two seasons with a mandatory purchase option...

Pioli, Inter should continue three at the back experiment at Bologna

Inter Milan coach Stefano Pioli
Stefano Pioli has experimented with a back three recently and against lowly Bologna figures to do the same.

Inter's upcoming trip to Bologna isn't the most challenging on paper: while the Nerazzurri performed admirably against Empoli at the weekend to earn their eighth win in nine games, Bologna are still reeling from the 1950s-style thumping Napoli handed down to them (7-1) in early February. Even more embarrassingly, this defeat came at home.

Even without Mauro Icardi and Marcelo Brozovic, it's hard to see the Felsinei doing well.

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Fortunately, Sunday's tie will be the perfect opportunity to experiment...

Five centre-back targets who could solve Arsenal's defensive problems

Arsenal could be facing a defensive crisis before the Premier League season even starts, ramping up the urgency for manager Arsene Wenger to sign an experienced centre-back in the transfer window.

Per Mertesacker sustained a knee injury that has ruled him out of this week's preseason trip to the United States, with reports claiming that the German could be out for up to five months.

But while the club has yet to reveal the extent of the injury, fellow centre-back Gabriel Paulista also stayed home...

Colombia's youth revolution should offer U.S. a big test in the Copa opener

Turn the clock back two years and the future of Colombian football looked decidedly bright. Jose Pekerman's team celebrated a return to the World Cup finals after 16 years by making history in Brazil with a quarterfinal finish. Their vibrant football turned heads and won admirers across the globe while back home, up to 150,000 people choked capital city Bogota's main park as a nation welcomed their heroes home.

A month later, the ex-Argentina coach put pen to paper on a new four-year contract,...