Jorge Meré becomes the latest new arrival at Köln
Jörg Schmadtke, Jorge Meré and Peter Stöger. | Photo: 1. FC Köln.

1. FC Köln confirmed on Thursday that they have signed another young defensive prospect, with the arrival of Jorge Meré from Sporting Gijón.

The 20-year-old centre-back has signed a long-term deal with the Billy Goats, committing until 2022, with a transfer fee in the region of €7 million.

He follows João Queirós and Jannes Horn to the RheinEnergieStadion, as well as striker Jhon Córdoba.

Meré arrives with La Liga and youth championship experience

Despite his young age, Meré comes to Köln with plenty of experience already.

He emerged for Gijón towards the end of the 2014-15 season as they won promotion from La Liga 2, before coming a regular over the past two campaigns. He appeared 56 times in La Liga as he became a regular at the heart of their defence, although they were relegated back to the second tier at the end of last season.

He has also won recognition at youth level for Spain. After playing for the under-17s, under-18s and under-19s, he has now won 16 caps for the under-21s, and played in four of Spain’s five games at the recent UEFA European Under-21 Championship, including in the final defeat to Germany. He remains eligible at that level for the next two years.

Meré expects to develop well in Germany

Jörg Schmadtke, Köln’s general manager, said that the club had been “following [his] development for some time.” He noted that he has been a regular for both Gijón and Spain under-21s in the past two years, and that “he gives us more possibilities in defence.”

Meré meanwhile is “looking forward” to joining the club and hopes to “prove myself in the Bundesliga and the UEFA Europa League.” He believes that Köln is “a club where you can develop very well as a young player,” and despite being linked with other clubs, including Genoa CFC and Málaga CF, he was always set on a move to the Billy Goats.

Along with more established players such as Frederik Sörensen and Dominic Maroh, plus Queirós who arrived earlier in the week, Meré will give coach Peter Stöger yet another centre-back to choose from. This will potentially allow him to play a back three more regularly this season, as he did occasionally in the last campaign.

Meré has been handed the number 22 shirt by the club, and will join up with his new team mates next week.

Quotes via 1. FC Köln.