Southampton FC have paid a club record transfer fee after signing Juventus midfielder Mario Lemina in a deal worth up to £18.1 million.
An initial £15.4 million will be paid to Juventus, with the deal increasing to £18.1 million depending on Lemina’s performances and success with the team.
The club’s previous record signing was Sofiane Boufal, who joined the club in a £16 million deal from French side Lille last August.
The Gabon international, who signed a five-year deal, will have plenty to prove, with his two-year spell with Juventus spent mostly on the bench, making just 29 Serie A appearances since joining from Marseille.
Lemina, who has nine caps and two goals for his native Gabon, plays a defensive-minded central midfielder and is a keen passer of the ball.
He completed 90% of all attempted passes in 19 Serie A matches last season, successfully completing 26.3 per match he appeared in.
Southampton’s record signing also put in at least 1.3 tackles per match and will be determined to show that he is capable of performing at a high level as a regular starter for the Saints.
His increase in total appearances for Juventus (29 in 16/17 compared to just 13 in 15/16) shows that the Italian club were beginning to see something in the former France youth international.
If Lemina is able to cement his place in Mauricio Pellegrino’s starting eleven regularly, then he will be able to live up to the record transfer fee paid for him.
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So far in his career, Lemina has not been given the opportunity to feature regularly in a starting lineup and the move to Southampton shows that he would rather play regularly than simply sit on the bench at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
Mario Lemina is Southampton’s second signing of the summer transfer window, with Poland Under-21 international defender Jan Bednarek having joined the club from Lech Poznan for £5 million.
Southampton finished a respectable 8th place last season but will be hoping to push closer to the European qualification places.
Mario Lemina may be seen as a piece of the puzzle as the start of the Premier League season rapidly approaches.