June 18, 2020 / 11:58 AM / 2 months ago

Nolito returns to Celta outside transfer window

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Sevilla news conference - UEFA Champions League - Otkrytie Arena, Moscow, Russia - October 16, 2017. Sevilla's player Nolito (L) and coach Eduardo Berizzo attend a news conference ahead of the match against Spartak Moscow. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo

(Reuters) - La Liga side Celta Vigo have brought Spanish forward Nolito back from Sevilla to help their battle against relegation after taking advantage of a rule which allows clubs to sign players outside of a transfer window under special circumstances.

A club statement said Nolito would join the squad immediately, subject to passing a medical and finalising his contract with Celta, who are 17th in La Liga and hovering two points above the relegation zone with nine matches left.

Nolito, 33, spent the best three years of his career at Celta, scoring 39 league goals between 2013 and 2016, leading to him earning a Spain call up and being signed by Manchester City.

Celta were able to sign Nolito after goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez sustained a knee injury in May and was ruled out for five months, the minimum time the Spanish federation’s rules permit for a club to sign a replacement.

The rules only allow clubs to sign a replacement player that already plays in Spain and after registering them in the squad are not allowed to play the injured player for the remainder of the season if they recover ahead of schedule.

Champions Barcelona used the same rule to sign striker Martin Braithwaite in February from Leganes after Ousmane Dembele was ruled out for more than five months after rupturing his hamstring and requiring surgery.

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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