Maia adds more samba flair to Lille

Lille have looked to Brazil once more for recruitment as they announced the signing of Thiago Maia on a five-year contract from Santos.

The 20-year-old defensive midfielder has attracted widespread interest from across Europe since winning a gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games on home soil.

Maia also helped the Brazilian club to the Campeonato Paulista title last year, in his second full season at Vila Belmiro having made his first-team debut in 2014 after impressing at youth level.

He becomes the fourth Brazilian to arrive at Stade Pierre-Mauroy since Marcelo Bielsa was appointed head coach in May – following in the footsteps of compatriots Luiz Araujo, Thiago Mendes and Caju.

"I've worked a lot since I was a little boy to be able to one day realise this dream to come and play in Europe. I am very pleased to be able to seize this opportunity," Maia told the French club's official website.

"We discussed this at length with my family and thought that the LOSC was the best place to evolve, learn, progress. So I'm very proud to be here in Lille today."

Les Dogues CEO Marc Ingla added: "We are very pleased to see Thiago join LOSC, a player we have been following for a long time and who was courted by very good clubs.

"Although he is only 20 years old, he is already a great player, probably one of the best in the Brazilian championship at the moment.

"He now has to integrate with the region, the club and all the conditions are there for this adaptation to be fast. We expect a lot from him and we are hopeful that he will help the team to move in the right direction."

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