Leicester City have announced the signing of 22-year-old French midfielder Boubakary Soumaré from Lille.

The former France U21 international has signed a five-year deal at the King Power Stadium, linking up with former international team-mate Wesley Fofana.

The Foxes centre-back has blossomed into one of Europe’s hottest prospects in his position after his move from Lille’s Ligue 1 rivals St Etienne last October.

After signing for a fee believed to be around £17m, Soumaré cited Fofana as a key influence in his move to the FA Cup holders.

“I spoke to Wesley about the Club, the environment and everything about it and he only had good things to say,” the midfielder said.

“He’s already achieved so much with the Club in a short space of time and it’s massive.

“It’s encouraging to see another young French player doing so well after making the move.”

Fofana isn’t the only Frenchman he will join at the King Power.

The Toulon-born Senegal international, Nampalys Mendy joined the Foxes in 2016, after their Premier League-winning season, and has made 65 appearances in the five campaigns since.

Soumaré joins Brendan Rodgers’ side on the back of a silverware-winning season himself, Lille winning Ligue 1 by one point ahead of perennial champions Paris St-Germain.

He described that title triumph, Lille’s first since 2010-11, as “an amazing, truly unique feeling.

“I would love to be successful with Leicester in the future. It’s given me a desire to achieve more.”

The 6’1″ midfielder started his career at Paris FC, before being picked up by PSG at 12 and playing up to two age groups up.

Aged 17, Soumaré won the Championnat National with PSG’s U19s side, also helping the young Parisians to the UEFA Youth League final.

He eventually departed to Lille in 2017, then managed by Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa.

Though he found games hard to come by in a season in which Lille escaped relegation by a point, he would make over 100 appearances in all competitions for the club.

There’s something satisfying in his Lille career starting with survival by a point, and ending by winning the Ligue 1 title by the same margin.

Soumaré had been on the radar of some of Europe’s biggest clubs since he was 19, as he helped Lille from the bring of Ligue 2 to the upper reaches of the French top-flight.

He added, “I’m really proud to come to the Premier League and a big club like Leicester.

“It’s going to really help me to develop my game and progress as a player, so I feel it is the right step for me.

“Leicester is a very ambitious club. When they spoke to me about their plans and what they wanted from me, I knew straight away I wanted to come.

“I really am so proud and honoured to be here and I will give my all for the team and club to make everyone happy.”

He joins Patson Daka as a new arrival for Brendan Rodgers’ side, the Zambian striker signing from Austrian Bundesliga champions FC Red Bull Salzburg.


Featured image credit: Leicester City Football Club

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