Everton have completed the signing of Belgian midfielder Amadou Onana from Lille, beating West Ham United to the transfer.
Onana was the subject of a number of bids from West Ham this summer, the last of which was accepted by Lille. However, Everton quickly matched it and came in with a better offer for personal terms.
Now, Onana has signed their contract for him, which will last until 2027. The transfer fee for Everton’s fifth signing of the summer has not been revealed.
Onana, 20, will be playing in the Premier League for the first time as a result of his move to Goodison Park.
He told Everton’s in-house media channels: “It feels great to join Everton. I know it’s a big, big club, one of the biggest in England. It’s something I want to be part of for many years.
“Everyone here showed they really wanted me and they have a plan for me, so I really appreciated the talks I had with the manager [Frank Lampard] and Director of Football [Kevin Thelwell]. They told me how they wanted me to play and I enjoyed it.
“They both have a lot of ambition and that’s the type of guy I am so it matches.
“The manager was one of the big reasons. He played at the highest level, won many things and was a midfielder, too. It means a lot to have interest from him and I think he can teach me many things.
“The Everton fans are amazing. I saw their support last season and it’s also one of the reasons why I chose Everton. I am looking forward to meeting them at Goodison and, just hearing about the atmosphere, I get goosebumps.
“Blue is my favourite colour, too! I am going to give everything for the club and our supporters.”
Amadou Onana explains what to expect
Onana will wear the number eight shirt for Everton, although he insists he can contribute in any midfield role.
He explained: “I think I can play every position in centre midfield, whether that’s as a holding midfielder or a box-to-box as a number eight. That said, wherever the manager needs me, I will play there.
“I chose the number eight shirt because I am a big fan of Kobe Bryant. His work ethic and the way he was inspired me so I’m happy to have that number at Everton.
“I’m just excited to be on the pitch and show what I can do and help the team as much as I can.”
Lampard thinks Onana has found right club
Manager Lampard has already been an important factor for several signings at Everton. Amadou Onana is the latest to have been lured in by the former England midfielder.
According to Lampard, Onana has exciting abilities and has been convinced that Everton – despite those links with West Ham – is the right place to develop.
Lampard said: “Amadou is a player we were really keen to bring to Everton. He has many great qualities to help strengthen our midfield and, at just 20 years old, has massive potential to get even better.
“I spoke to him about why Everton was the right club for him and we’re all looking forward to him showing what he can bring to the team.”
Onana leaves Lille after just one season, in which he made 42 appearances. Now, he has many ahead of him at Everton.