Monaco have ended a drawn-out and controversial pursuit of Willem Geubbels by paying €20million to sign the teenager from Lyon.
Geubbels became the first player born in the 21st century to appear in Ligue 1 when he went on as a substitute in the 3-3 draw against Dijon in September 2017.
The France Under-17 international then became a transfer target for Monaco, who confirmed their interest in the forward in March.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas subsequently said he would be “disappointed” were Geubbels to leave the club for less than €70m.
But Lyon confirmed on Tuesday the 16-year-old has joined Monaco for an initial €20m fee, although further payments could be made depending on Geubbels’ development.
Geubbels follows Rachid Ghezzal and Jordy Gaspar in moving from Lyon to Monaco, who denied claims they acted inappropriately in signing the duo.
“Lyon regrets that the extraordinary efforts made by leaders and educators for Willem to begin his professional career and flourish in his training club, have not been heard,” Lyon said in a statement announcing Geubbels’ departure.
— AS Monaco (@AS_Monaco) June 19, 2018
Geubbels, though, is shaking off the controversy surrounding his move.
“I am very happy to sign at Monaco. It is a historic club that plays in the Champions League and plays the leading roles every year in Ligue 1,” Geubbels told Monaco’s website.
“The project of the club is ambitious and relies on the development of young players. I cannot wait to meet my new teammates, to learn from them. I am ready and determined to help the team do great things.”
The latest addition follows on from the €25m arrival of teenage forward Pietro Pellegri from Genoa in January.
“The arrival of Willem Geubbels is part of our ambition to develop the best European talent,” said Monaco vice-president and CEO Vadim Vasilyev.
“Willem has already demonstrated a lot of qualities and great potential. With patience and a lot of work, we are convinced that he will arrive at the top level.”
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