Olympique Lyonnais captain Nabil Fekir has reportedly signed for Spanish outfit Real Betis for a bargain amount of €20m plus add-ons, subject to a medical.
The French midfielder has departed Lyon after six successful seasons in Ligue 1, aiming for a new challenge away from his homeland. He only had a year left on his contract which he refused to renew.
Fekir was excused from preseason training by Lyon manager Sylvinho as he flew to Spain to negotiate a five-year contract with Real Betis. Lyon have also inserted a 20% sell-on clause which could later benefit them in a future deal.
Nabil Fekir has been a long-term target for Champions League holders Liverpool, and a move to Anfield was on the cards last summer. However, an agreement between the clubs broke down at the last moment. Jurgen Klopp reportedly “approached” the World Cup winner again this summer but no concrete offers were made by the Reds.
The midfielder’s arrival to Real Betis will now open the door for Giovani Lo Celso to leave the club. The Argentine has been heavily linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur, and could be on his way to London this summer. Betis have no doubt honed a brilliant crop of attacking midfielders in the recent past.
Dani Ceballos, who moved to Real Madrid for €18 million in the summer of 2017, was replaced by equally-talented Fabian Ruiz. The young Spaniard was then snapped up by Napoli last year when Lo Celso came onto the scene from Paris Saint-Germain. And Fekir’s imminent arrival has surely indicated Betis’ intent this season.
Nabil Fekir had a decent 2018/19 campaign as he scored nine goals and provided seven assists in Ligue 1, leading his team to an impressive third position. And given his world-class ability, it is surprising that no top European club reached out to land the 2018 World Cup winner.
The 26-year-old scored 68 goals for Lyon, but failed to win a single major trophy during his time at the club. It is clear that the attacking midfielder is not hungry for silverware with a move to Betis, who finished 10th in the La Liga last season.
However, his addition to the squad will make Rubi’s side one to watch next season in the Spanish top-flight. Nabil Fekir could make his competitive debut for Real Betis on August 19 as they face Real Valladolid in the season opener.