Southampton have announced the signing of attacking midfielder Sofiane Boufal from Lille for an undisclosed club-record fee.
The 22-year-old Morocco international, who has agreed a five-year deal at St Mary’s Stadium, made 35 appearances for Lille last term, netting 12 times and adding a further four assists across all competitions, becoming one of the most highly-rated young players in Ligue 1 in the process.
And the playmaker, who arrived at Lille from Angers in 2015, has now become Claude Puel’s sixth signing at Southampton as the Frenchman looks to build on their sixth-placed finish under Ronald Koeman last season.
Addressing his switch to English football, Boufal said in a statement: “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.”
Boufal follows Alex McCarthy, Nathan Redmond, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Jeremy Pied and Stuart Taylor in arriving at Southampton in this transfer window, and Executive Director of Football Les Reed is confident the Moroccan will impress the St. Mary’s faithful when he is match fit.
“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,” Reed said in a statement.
Puel, whose side face Arsenal after the international break, is still searching for his first victory in the Premier League, with Southampton having drawn at home to Watford and Sunderland either side of a 2-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford.