Mario Lemina – Nice officially confirm signing of the Newcastle United target
Back in June, it was reported that Newcastle and Southampton had been in talks for the transfer of Mario Lemina.
However, once money was discussed, Mike Ashley had insisted that due to the midfielder set to turn 28 in September, no transfer fee could be paid.
The Mail saying that Ashley has brought in yet another age based transfer rule, where no transfer fee can be paid on any player aged 28 or over.
Fast forward some five weeks or so, on Thursday night (22 July 2021) RMC journalist Loic Tanzi reported that Mario Lemina had flown into Nice, saying that the midfielder had arrived in France and was set to finalise a three year deal with the Ligue 1 club.
Then yesterday (Friday) morning, that was followed by an update from Dan Sheldon, he covers Southampton on behalf of The Athletic, who stated that Nice and Southampton had agreed a deal, with a total of £4.7m to be paid, including eventual add-ons.
The man from The Athletic saying that Southampton had originally wanted £8m but accepted that with a year to go on his contract, taking the offer was right move.
The final act of this transfer story concluding on Saturday, with Nice now releasing this official announcement, confirming that they had now completed the transfer:
‘OGC Nice is delighted to announce the transfer of Mario Lemina from English side Southampton.
Since making his Ligue 1 debut for FC Lorient on 26 January 2013 against Nancy, Mario Lemina has travelled far and wide to practice his trade. After leaving France, he played in Italy, England and Turkey. A Gabon international with 19 caps and 3 goals to his name, this technical central midfielder with a strong personality is also a tireless worker capable of getting forward and today he joins Christophe Galtier’s squad with the aim of putting his enormous talent at the service of OGC Nice.
Already familiar with the Ligue 1 championship having made 55 appearances with Les Merlus and then Marseille, whom he played for between 2013 and 2015, Lemina was then loaned to Italian giants Juventus before making a permanent move to La Vecchia Signora, playing 42 matches with Juve and winning two scudetti in 2016 and 2017.
At the end of his spell in Serie A, the player crowned U20 world champion with France in 2013, joined Southampton where he spent two seasons before successive loans to Galatasaray and Fulham.
A player with plenty of Champions League experience, Lemina counts 220 professional appearances in all competitions.
Le Gym wishes him a very warm welcome!’
Mike Ashley had insisted back in June that Southampton would have to take one or more of Newcastle’s unwanted players in exchange, with not a penny to be paid in a transfer fee. Not surprisingly the talks ended and no deal done.
However, late Wednesday night / Thursday morning this week, brought new claims that a last minute Newcastle deal to sign Mario Lemina had been resurrected.
The Mail saying that talks were back on between Southampton and Newcastle United, with Mike Ashley now accepting to an extent how desperate NUFC are for some new better quality signings, the club owner having now sanctioned a £4m bid for Mario Lemina.
Who knows the truth of what Newcastle United / Mike Ashley had offered, but regardless of that, Mario Lemina has gone elsewhere. Nice offering a £4.7m package that presumably Ashley wouldn’t match or better.
We are now only three weeks away from the new season and on day 46 of the transfer window with not a single signing made.
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