Thiago Maia joins Brazilian influx at Lille

Updated: 

Brazilian midfielder Thiago Maia has joined Lille on a five-year contract after the Ligue 1 club fended off stiff competition from sides across Europe for his signature.

The highly rated defensive midfielder joins compatriots Luiz Araujo, Thiago Mendes and Caju at Stade Pierre-Mauroy as Lille's Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa continues to grow the South American contingent in his squad.

The 20-year-old already has an Olympic gold medal to his name after playing alongside Neymar and Marquinhos in Brazil's triumphant side of the 2016 games in Rio, and he has twice been a winner of the Campeonato Paulista.

He told the Ligue1 club's official website: "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.

"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."

Lille CEO Marc Ingla said the transfer had been a long time in the making, saying: "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."