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DORTMUND, Germany (AP) — Borussia Dortmund has signed Argentine central back Leonardo Balerdi from Boca Juniors to help cover its defensive worries.

The Bundesliga leader, reacting after injuries to Manuel Akanji, Dan-Axel Zagadou und Abdou Diallo, says the 19-year-old Balerdi signed a “very long-term contract” on Monday. It does not give the length of the deal.

Dortmund initially planned on signing the Argentina Under-20 defender in the summer but brought the deal forward to boost its defensive options ahead of the second half of the season.

Sporting director Michael Zorc says, “Leonardo is an intelligent, strong defender who is good in the air. He is also good in passing and build-up play. We are very happy that he decided for us and are convinced that he will help us with his talent in the future.”

Balerdi trained with Lucien Favre’s team after signing the contract.

News agency dpa reports Dortmund is paying around 15 million euros ($17 million) for the transfer and the club doesn’t plan any more signings in this winter transfer period. Shinji Kagawa, Jeremy Toljan, Dzenis Burnic and Alexander Isak are all candidates to leave.

Dortmund, which leads the Bundesliga by six points from Bayern Munich, restarts its league campaign at Leipzig on Saturday.


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