“Everything actually happened really quickly, in one day,” Sergino Dest told Milan TV last Friday after his unexpected deadline day arrival at the Italian club.

“I had to make a decision really quickly, to change my life, go to another club, another country, another culture,” Dest said. “This is a club I wanted to play for when I was younger, this is a nice step for me, a good chance to play again, I am really glad and honoured to play for this club.”

It all happened quickly. In the course of 24 hours, Dest went from being frozen out at Barcelona to joining the reigning Serie A champions. On Tuesday he made his debut for his new club in the Champions League at RB Salzburg.

The move was not what the US men’s team right-back expected at the start of the summer. But by the last day of the transfer window, everyone involved was happy with how it worked out.

Returning to Barcelona for pre-season training in early July, Dest expected he would be staying for the long term at the Camp Nou.

Although hampered by niggling muscle injuries last season, he still made 31 appearances in all competitions. Barcelona coach Xavi had been generally positive, and they had spoken about areas of his game that could be developed. Sporting director Jordi Cruyff and director of football Mateu Alemany had also assured the player and his camp that they saw him as an important squad member for the future. There was even a feeling that Dest could soon renew the contract he signed when joining from Ajax for €21million (£18.2m, $21m) in summer 2020.

There was also an awareness that Dest had yet to really show what he was capable of in a Barca shirt. On arrival, then-coach Ronald Koeman had been very supportive. Dest played 31 La Liga games in his first campaign at the Camp Nou and started seven of their eight Champions League games that year. He also started the 2021 Copa del Rey final when Barca beat Athletic Bilbao 4-0.

That progress stalled last season. Koeman was under increasing pressure and the team were not gelling. After Xavi took over in November 2021, Dest was in and out of the team — niggling hamstring issues did not help. He knew he had not been great in some games, such as away to Bayern Munich in the Champions League when he was subbed off at half-time soon after Xavi took over. But being played in different positions by both coaches — right midfield, left-back, right wing — did not help. Meanwhile, there was some frustration at others who are not specialists, like Ronald Araujo, being used at right-back instead.