The Montreal Impact have transferred attacker Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla to FC Barcelona for an undisclosed fee, the MLS club announced Thursday.
Tabla, 18, signed a three-year contract with Barcelona with two additional years. Barcelona announced that the buyout clause during the first three years of the deal is set at 25 million euros (approximately $31.2 million), and rises to 75 million euros ($93.6 million) after the first three years.
Tabla completed his medical on Thursday and will join Barcelona’s B team, with a plan to have him potentially break through to the first team in coming seasons.
The most highly-touted prospect to come out of the Montreal Impact academy, Tabla was born in Abidjan in the Ivory Coast before moving to Canada with his family as a child, and joined the Impact academy in 2012. He left the club in December 2013, rejoining the academy in April 2015. Tabla played with FC Montreal of the USL in 2016 and was named Canada’s Under-20 Male Player of the Year.
Tabla signed a first-team contract with Montreal in October 2016, and became the youngest player in Impact history to play in an MLS match the following year. He went on to record two goals and two assists in 21 regular-season matches in 2017 - his only one with the Impact.
“This first transfer is an important moment in the history and evolution of our club,” Impact president and owner Joey Saputo said in a statement. “We take a lot of pride in seeing a young player, developed in our academy, climb the ladder all the way to the first team and realize his dream to play in Europe with a big club like Barcelona.”
—Field Level Media