Defender becomes Derby's latest signing.

Defender becomes Derby's latest signing.

Derby County have today signed defender Raúl Albentosa following his departure from Spanish La Liga outfit Eibar.

Albentosa, 26, has joined Derby on a two-and-a-half year contract despite strong interest from a number of top flight clubs in both Spain and England.

The giant 6ft 5in central defender has been monitored by Head Coach Steve McClaren and Head of Football Operations Chris Evans for some time, following a succession of impressive displays in Eibar’s maiden season in Spanish football’s top flight.

He is the third Spaniard to link up with Derby in recent months, following the arrival of Omar Mascarell on a season-long loan deal from Real Madrid and Ivan Calero, who penned a two-year deal after leaving Atletico Madrid last summer.

McClaren commented: “We’re really pleased to welcome Raúl Albentosa to Derby County, especially given the level of interest in him.

“He has been in fine form this season in La Liga and we have been impressed with what we have seen of him as a management staff and scouting team, and believe he can make the transition to English football.”

He added: “He has shown a real desire to come to Derby County and be part of what we are trying to achieve.”

Albentosa began his career in Spain with Elche, progressing through their youth set-up and B side before progressing to the first-team ranks; making his debut against Xerez CD in June 2008.

He moved to Caravaca CF at the start of the 2008/09 season before returning to the Segunda División outfit, making just three appearances prior to leaving for pastures new in 2010.

He then had spells at Real Murcia Imperial, CD San Roque de Lepe and Cádiz CF in Segunda División B in the following seasons, before joining Eibar in the summer of 2013.

In his first season with the Club, Albentosa played a key role in helping Eibar securing promotion to La Liga for the first time ever in the Club’s history, featuring on 33 occasions in the league.

This season, he has featured 17 times in La Liga and he scored his first-ever top flight goal in Spain in a 2-0 win against his former club, Elche, in September 2014 as well as in a 5-2 win against Almeria last month.

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