Valverde has high expectations for €224m trio De Jong, Griezmann and Neto at Barcelona

By Sports Desk July 17, 2019

Ernesto Valverde is expecting a swift impact from €224million trio Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong and Neto at Barcelona.

France star Griezmann became the LaLiga champions' third major signing of the close-season last Friday, after Barca paid his €120m release clause at Atletico Madrid.

De Jong had agreed to a move to Camp Nou in January for an initial fee of €75m, having been courted by a number of Europe's top sides due to some standout displays for Champions League semi-finalists Ajax.

Goalkeeper Neto was signed in June for €29m, with a further €9m to be paid in add-ons, as Jasper Cillessen went the other way to Valencia for €35m in total.

Such an expensive outlay has led to big expectations for Griezmann and De Jong in particular, and Barca boss Valverde hopes to see them hit the ground running.

"They are three important signings," he told Barca TV. "Of course, we expect a lot out of them, they have our fans excited and what we want them to do is get into the team dynamic and perform to their levels.

"[De Jong] has last year and in recent years been playing at a high level, as did his whole team. We hope he can give us some fresh energy in midfield, which can only be good for us. We're building for the future and he has years ahead of him. He's a quality player. He has a little bit of our playing style in him.

"[Griezmann] is a player who fills spaces quickly and is decisive near goal and we know how much a player like that is worth and what he gives you in return. We have high hopes for him because he is young but with experience and that leads us to expect him to perform right away.

"Neto is an experienced player too, an insurance policy in goal, and we think he is an ideal complement to Marc-Andre ter Stegen."

Valverde accepts the pressure is on Barca to challenge on all fronts once more, with last term's league title win overshadowed by a Copa del Rey final loss to Valencia and a humiliating Champions League semi-final exit to Liverpool.

"We have challenges, just like any other year, and we also have the demand of having to win everything, to win all the time, to get our fans excited," he said.

"There is nothing else for Barca except trying to win every competition we take part in, to win all our games and stay faithful to our style."

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