Southampton have completed the signing of Lille attacking midfielder Sofiane Boufal for a club record fee. Boufal, 22, emerged as one of Ligue 1's brightest talents last season, a rise that saw him linked with moves to Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Barcelona.
But the Morocco international has now penned a five-year deal at St Mary's for a fee which surpasses the £15.5m the club paid Roma for Pablo Osvaldo in 2013.
"I'm very, very happy to sign for Southampton and I am really excited to play in St Mary's Stadium in front of the fans," Boufal said.
"Southampton showed big interest in signing me, and I can see that this club is the best place for me to continue my progression as a footballer.
"I hope I can achieve many great things with Southampton. It is a very good club, with excellent facilities, and I feel it is the perfect environment to continue my development."
According to the Evening Standard, Tottenham Hotspur were also keen on the Moroccan international. His agent Yvan Le Mee also claimed, in June, that Barcelona were interested in signing the youngster – suggesting he had held talks with Chelsea.
Boufal becomes Southampton's fifth signing of the summer transfer window, following the arrivals of Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Nathan Redmond, Jeremy Pied and Alex McCarthy.
Southampton's executive director of football Les Reed said: "I'm absolutely delighted to welcome Sofiane to Southampton Football Club.
"He has shown his undoubted qualities in France over the past few seasons, and we are extremely confident he will successfully adapt to life in the Premier League.
"Sofiane is a player we have watched develop closely over the last few years, and we're thrilled to have him join the club ahead of what promises to be a very exciting season, with Europa League football on the horizon."