De Préville lands at LOSC… via Belgium
Former Stade de Reims midfielder Nicolas De Préville may have signed for Belgian side Ostende in the off-season, but he will grace Ligue 1 once again in season 2016-17, having signed a season-long loan deal with LOSC.
With Reims unable to beat the drop last season, talented midfielder Nicolas De Préville was on the lookout for a move to a top-flight club, and on Wednesday he found it, signing on with Frédéric Antonetti's LOSC for the season to come.
How De Préville ended up with Les Dogues is not exactly straightforward - after turning down Toulouse, he signed for Belgian side Ostende, whose owner Marc Coucke is a major LOSC shareholder - but the 25-year-old is certain that he is now in the right place.
De Préville: 'The ideal club for me'
"Everything was in place for my move to LOSC to become a reality. I felt that the directors and the coach really wanted to sign me," said De Préville, who bagged five goals and provided nine assists with Stade de Reims last season. "I also had several conversations with Frédéric Antonetti on the phone. He told me about the club's project, what he envisaged for me and the kind of progress I could make at the club. Frankly, it's the ideal club for me to keep growing and making progress. Given how I want my career to shape up, a club like Lille was really the best choice. I've made the step up after Istres and Reims."
Despite the somewhat circuitous nature of De Préville's arrival, there was nothing accidental about it, as Lille's Assistant CEO Jean-Michel Vandamme explained.
Vandamme: 'He's a fighter'
"We had been following him since his time at Istres," said the LOSC director. "The transfer didn't happen back then, but my scouting staff kept an eye on him. We were convinced that his technical, physical and mental quality corresponded with the club's values and what we were looking for. Nicolas should bring us some real options with his creativity and pace. He's capable of delivering a killer final ball and accelerating the game - and he has a hell of a shot on him. On top of that, he's a fighter, a player with a huge work rate who's always up for the challenge. And for him, it was clearly LOSC or bust, despite offers from very good French and foreign clubs."
De Préville, who made 103 Ligue 1 appearances (15 goals) for Reims, could make his club debut this weekend as Les Dogues kick off their Ligue 1 campaign with a trip to promoted Metz on Saturday evening.