Ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, Eagles of Mali star Moussa Djenepo has completed a move to Premier League side Southampton from Standard Liege in a deal reported to have cost the English club about £14 million.
The 20-year-old midfielder, who has been named in Mali’s squad for AFCON 2019 which starts on June 21 in Egypt, has signed a four-year-deal with the Saints to become the first signing of Ralph Hassenhuttl’s team.
“Southampton Football Club is delighted to announce it has reached an agreement to sign the highly-rated young winger Moussa Djenepo, from Standard Liège,” wrote the south coast club on their website on June 13 after the deal was confirmed.
The club added: “The 20-year-old Mali international has agreed a four-year contract at St Mary’s, subject to the relevant paperwork being completed on 1st July, becoming the first arrival of the summer transfer window and also of manager Ralph Hasenhüttl’s tenure.”
Djenepo joins Southampton off the back of a good season in Belgium for Standard which saw him score 11 times as he helped the club to achieve a third-place finish in the top-flight and earn qualification for the 2019/20 Europa League campaign.
He said on the club website: “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.”
The first interview with #SaintsFC's newest arrival:
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) June 13, 2019
Djenepo went on to express his eagerness to work with his new team: “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.”
On his part, Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl 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.”
Hassenhuttl added: “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.”
The German went on to comment on Southampton’s ambition in the transfer market: “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,” he said.