Marlon Santos secures permanent Barcelona switch

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Barcelona have confirmed the signing of defender Marlon Santos on a permanent three-year deal.

The 21-year-old had been on loan at the club from Fluminense in 2016-17 and, although he spent most of his time with the B team, he made three senior appearances under Luis Enrique.

The Brazilian had been linked with a possible move elsewhere but Barca have taken up their option on the player, who is now contracted to the Camp Nou club until 2020.

It has been reported in Spain that new head coach Ernesto Valverde has been suitably impressed with Marlon to consider keeping him in the first-team fold for next season, despite reports that Real Betis are interested in a loan deal.

The news is likely to increase speculation that Jeremy Mathieu's time at Camp Nou is coming to an end, however.

The France international, who will be 34 in October, has been linked with Greek Superleague champions Olympiacos.