(Reuters) - Southampton have signed Mali international Moussa Djenepo on a four-year deal from Standard Liege, the Premier League club said on Thursday.
The clubs did not disclose the transfer fee but British media reported Southampton paid 14 million pounds ($17.78 million) for the 20-year-old winger.
Djenepo arrives at St Mary’s on the back of an impressive season with Standard Liege, where he scored 11 times, across all competitions, to help them finish third in the Belgian top flight.
"We are very happy to welcome Moussa as the first new player to join our team ahead of the upcoming season," Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuettl said in a statement here
“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.”
Djenepo becomes Hasenhuettl’s first signing at Southampton as he looks to build a team that is suited to his intense style of play.
The Austrian coach said the club’s recruitment team will focus on quality over quantity as they look to improve on a 16th-placed finish in the league last season.
“I think he (Djenepo) will be an excellent fit for our style of play and shape, and these are the important characteristics we must look for,” Hasenhuttl added.
“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.”
Djenepo is currently with the Mali squad ahead of their African Cup of Nations campaign and will begin his pre-season with Southampton at the end of the tournament, which runs from on June 21 to July 19.
“It’s a dream come true. Southampton is a great club and I am very happy,” he said.
“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.”
($1 = 0.7875 pounds)
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Toby Davis