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Saints midfielder Lemina completes Ligue 1 move

OGC Nice have confirmed the signing of Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina for an undisclosed fee.

The Gabon international only had a year left on his Saints contract, and earlier this month it was reported that an offer was available The French club had earned 4 million euros (3.4 million pounds sterling).

The 27-year-old spent last season on loan at Fulham but couldn’t help the Cottagers avoid relegation.

He made 28 appearances in the Premier League, scoring one goal, while Scott Parker’s side scored just 28 points.

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Oriol Romeu, Ibrahima Diallo, James Ward-Prowse and Stuart Armstrong were all above Lemina in the pecking order in St. Marys, so a permanent departure seemed inevitable.

He spent most of his formative years in France with Lorient. He was promoted to their first team in January 2013 and played 18 games for the club before being signed by Marseille.

It was sold to Italian giants Juventus in 2016 but was back on the road just a year later when Southampton snapped him up for Β£ 15.5m.

However, he has only played 52 times for the Saints in four years and has been on loan at Galatasaray and Fulham.

Lemina’s successes include two Serie A titles at Juve and two Coppa Italia titles.

Elsewhere, West Ham defender Issa Diop is a transfer target in Southampton, next to Wolverhampton Wanderers and Crystal Palace.

The Frenchman is under contract until 2023 and while the Hammers are likely against a change of player, a large permanent offer would test their resolve.

Accordingly Foot mercato, Wolves, Palace and the Saints are considering a fall for the defender, with each side conceding more than 50 goals in the Premier League last season.

Wolves, in particular, looked far from their usual dogged selves, and new head coach Bruno Lage is said to be interested in strengthening their defensive options.

To the departure of the goalkeeper Rui Patricio, have already been looking for his replacement at Jose Sa and have been one of the most active Premier League clubs in the transfer market so far by loaning Francisco Trincao from Barcelona and Rayan Ait-Nouri from Angers.

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