Southampton have reached an agreement to sign winger Moussa Djenepo from Standard Liège.
The promising 20-year-old has agreed to a four-year contract with the Premier League club and subject to paperwork will be Ralph Hasenhüttl’s first acquisition as Saints boss.
Who is Moussa Djenepo? Five things to know…
- Moussa Djenepo broke through into the Standard Liege team in 2017, making 61 appearances for the Belgian side.
- Last season, the winger scored 11 goals in 39 games across all competitions, including three goals in the Europa League.
- Reports suggest the fee will be £14 million, just short of Marouane Fellaini’s club-record sale from Standard Liege to Everton.
- Serie A giants AC Milan were reportedly interested in signing the 20-year-old.
- Djenepo has eight caps for Mali, scoring once against Sudan earlier this year.
Following the announcement on the official Southampton website, Djenepo described his happiness with the deal and announced that he is eager to “really kick on and progress” in England.
He said: “It is something I am very proud of. It’s a dream come true. Southampton is a great club and I am very happy.
“It’s a good club that is progressing, it has great facilities, and it’s a place that can help me to really kick on and progress.
“I am looking forward to it and I want to get to know my new family. I can’t wait to be around my new teammates and work hard alongside them.”
All aboard the Ralph Express! ?
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) June 13, 2019
Saints boss Hasenhüttl admitted that Djenepo’s “tremendous pace and good finishing abilities” were just two characteristics that convinced the south-coast side to sign him and that the club have been interested in him for quite some time.
He said: “We are very happy to welcome Moussa as the first new player to join our team ahead of the upcoming season. He is an exciting player, with tremendous pace and good finishing abilities, who we have watched closely for some time.
“We have been impressed with how he has adapted to football in Europe and the impact he has had in many games, and we had an interest in him as recently as January, so I am pleased we are able to bring him into the club.
“He combines his quality with a good mentality and he is the right profile of player that we want to sign – still in the early part of his career, already with a lot of talent, but also with a great amount of potential that I believe we can help him to fulfil.
“I think he will be an excellent fit for our style of play and shape, and these are the important characteristics we must look for.
“It is about getting this right sort of quality, not quantity – we must maximise the use of this window by spending our money in the right way and on the right type of player, and this is a very strong start.”
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Djenepo scored more Europa League goals (3) than any Standard Liege player this season and clearly did enough to persuade Hasenhüttl to make him his first signing since joining Southampton in December.
In fact, no player aged 20 or under scored more during the Europa League group stages, with Djenepo and Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz tied on three. Also during the group stage, no player aged 20 or under attempted more dribbles than Djenepo, who successfully pulled off 11 of 21 attempted.
His 11 goals in all competitions will surely only help the Saints, with Djenepo scoring more goals than any Southampton player last season, the closest being Nathan Redmond who netted nine times.