London, Aug 9 (IANS): Belgium international Amadou Onana has signed for Everton from Lille for an undisclosed fee, agreeing a five-year contract until the end of June 2027, the club said in a statement on Tuesday.
The 20-year-old central midfielder - considered one of Europe's most exciting talents - becomes the Blues' fifth signing of the summer following the arrivals of defenders James Tarkowski and Rúben Vinagre, forward Dwight McNeil and centre-back Conor Coady.
The midfielder, considered one of Europe's most exciting talents, was poised to join West Ham until Everton stepped in to match their offer last week.
Powerful, fast, technically skilled and with the ability to be used in a range of central-midfield roles, Onana revealed the chance to play for manager Frank Lampard, passionate fans and 'one of the biggest clubs in England' were key to him committing his long-term future to Everton.
"It feels great to join Everton. I know it's a big, big club, one of the biggest in England," Onana told evertontv.
"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 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," he said.
"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," he added.
"Blue is my favourite colour, too! I am going to give everything for the Club and our supporters."
Manager Frank 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."