Southampton have completed the club record £17million capture of Sofiane Boufal from Lille.
Southampton agreed a fee with Lille last week before the attacking midfielder Boufal completed a medical and put pen to paper on a five-year deal with the Saints.
The south coast club will pay Lille an initial £15.3million to sign the Moroccan, 22, with a further £1.7million due in add-ons.Lille have also negotiated a significant sell-on clause into the deal, believed to be 15 per cent.Southampton remained in talks to finalise Boufal’s terms last night though that is expected to be a formality.
The deal for Boufal tops the £15million Southampton paid for Italian striker Dani Osvaldo in August 2013.Boufal scored 11 goals and set up five more last season before his season ended prematurely in May because of a knee injury.He is due to be fit to return next month.
On Boufal’s arrival, Executive Director of Football Les Reed said: “I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Sofiane to Southampton Football Club.He has shown his undoubted qualities in France over the past few seasons, and we are extremely confident he will successfully adapt to life in the Premier League.Sofiane is a player we have watched develop closely over the last few years, and we’re thrilled to have him join the club ahead of what promises to be a very exciting season, with Europa League football on the horizon.
“His excellent campaign with Lille last season meant a number of clubs were pursuing him to secure his services, but we’re delighted that Sofiane sees Southampton as the best place for him to continue his development.Saints fans may have to wait for a few weeks yet to see him demonstrate his skills, as Sofiane had a delayed start to his pre-season training and will be working very hard with our fitness staff to get up to full match fitness.At just 22 years of age, he will undoubtedly continue to improve as a player, and we’re very pleased that he will be able to make that progression with us here at Southampton.”
Speaking about his arrival at St Mary’s, Boufal said: “I’m very, very happy to sign for Southampton and I am really excited to play in St Mary’s Stadium in front of the fans.Southampton showed big interest in signing me, and I can see that this club is the best place for me to continue my progression as a footballer. I hope I can achieve many great things with Southampton. It is a very good club, with excellent facilities, and I feel it is the perfect environment to continue my development.”
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