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First team

Cherries complete Rico swoop

Diego Rico poses in the new AFC Bournemouth third shirt after signing in the dressing room.

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth have completed the signing of Spanish defender Diego Rico, subject to international clearance.

The 25-year-old has put pen to paper on a four-year contract at Vitality Stadium and arrives from Leganes for an undisclosed fee.

Rico, who is an attack-minded left-back, started his career at Real Zaragoza and progressed through the ranks before being promoted to their senior squad in the summer of 2013.

Three years later he switched to Leganes and made 58 appearances in all competitions, scoring four goals, before swapping Spain for Dorset.

“I’m very happy to be here and would like to thank everyone at AFC Bournemouth for making me feel so welcome,” said Rico.

“This is a new step for me in my career and from my heart I can say I am truly excited to be here and looking forward to the future.

“I have heard so much about the manager. I learned he is very professional and has a great philosophy on football and I can see that is true from the short time I have met him so far.

“I am very excited to be a Bournemouth player.”

AFC Bournemouth manager, Eddie Howe, said: “Diego is a player we have been tracking throughout the summer, and although we had to be patient, it’s great to finally be able to call him an AFC Bournemouth player.

“He’s a really nice footballer and someone who will fit our philosophy and style of play.

“Diego is fast, physical, aggressive in attack and aggressive defensively. He takes an excellent set piece and has a powerful left foot.

“Once he gets used to the way we play, we believe he can be a real force for this football club.”

AFC Bournemouth chief executive, Neill Blake, added: “This signing has taken a long time to get over the line but I’m delighted to bring Diego to the club.

“He is a fantastic talent who has all the attributes to succeed in the Premier League, and I am looking forward to seeing him develop as a player.

“Diego’s arrival further strengthens our squad as we aim to continue progressing and competing with some of the best clubs in the country.”

Following a sending off in La Liga at the end of last season, Rico will miss the first three games of the 2018/19 campaign through suspension.

He is fast, physical and aggressive in attack and defence.

Eddie Howe

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