Dioussé to don the green shirt
AS Saint-Etienne have announced their third summer recruit in the form of Assane Dioussé, the 19-year-old Senegalese midfielder, on a reported five-year, €5m deal from Italian side Empoli.
Saint-Etienne have had some thing of a frustrating transfer window so far, losing young midfielder Jordan Veretout to Fiorentina and seeing deals for Massadio Haïdara (AS Nancy Lorraine) and Yann Karamoh (SM Caen) go up in smoke, so Tuesday's capture of highly rated defensive midfield prospect Dioussé was a shot in the arm for new Sainté boss Oscar Garcia.
Romeyer: 'He will get even better'
"It's very satisfying for the club to have succeeded in signing one of the best young talents in Italian football," Roland Romeyer, AS Saint-Etienne president, who has also brought in striker Loïs Diony (Dijon FCO) and right-back Saidy Janko (Celtic). "Assane Dioussé was very much in demand. He is a quality player who will get even better. Our objective is to promote promising youngsters, be they from our youth academy or elsewhere. Our transfer dealings aren't over for the summer. We're ambitious and we hope to build a very competitive squad in order to have the best possible season."
Dioussé, 19, moved from Senegal to Italy at the age of 13 and quickly found a place at Empoli's youth academy before making his Serie A debut in 2015, aged 17. His powerful physical presence in defensive midfield is allied with superb passing and a capacity to verticalise his team's play, which the attack-minded Garcia should be eagerly anticipating.
Dioussé digging fan fervour
"I'm very happy and I can't wait to play at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in front of the club's amazing fans. Before signing here, I watched a few internet videos showing the atmosphere in the stadium and I was moved by the passion of the fans. AS Saint-Etienne is a great French club with a worldwide reputation," said the youngster after putting pen to paper. "Since arriving here, I have felt the passion and the family atmosphere. Everyone has given me a very warm welcome. My preferred position is in defensive midfield but I can also play a bit higher up the pitch. I'm at the coach's disposition."
Dioussé will have his first chance to see his new stadium in all its glory as Sainté play the opening match of their 2017-18 Ligue 1 Conforama campaign at home to Nice on Saturday, August 4 at 20:00.