MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich signed French midfielder Corentin Tolisso for a Bundesliga-record of at least 41.5 million euros ($46.8 million) from Lyon on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old Tolisso signed a five-year deal, Bayern said, while Lyon announced the transfer fee and said that add-ons could see it increase by another 6 million euros ($6.8 million).
“”I had a wonderful time at Lyon, and I’m very thankful for that. Now I’m really pleased to be at one of the best clubs in Europe,” Tolisso said.
Tolisso, who joined Lyon as a 13-year-old, made his debut with the senior team in 2013 and went on to play 160 games, including 32 in the Champions League and Europa League, contributing 29 goals. He was reportedly a target for Chelsea.
“We’re really pleased we’ve been able to sign such a young and interesting player ahead of stiff competition from abroad. Corentin Tolisso was (coach) Carlo Ancelotti’s wish for our midfield,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.
Tolisso, a versatile midfielder who has made one appearance for France, will hope to fill the void left by Xabi Alonso’s retirement. Midfielder Joshua Kimmich will likely go back to fill in for the retired Philipp Lahm, and Javi Martinez, also initially a midfielder, will stay in defense.
“Tolisso is a pretty quick, technically good player,” said Rummenigge, who compared the player to Martinez when he joined. “He’s also a threat in front of goal and scored 14 times last season, as well as providing a lot of assists. He’s a player that the FC Bayern fans can look forward to.”
Tolisso is Bayern’s fourth recruit of the offseason after Sunday’s signing of forward Serge Gnabry from Werder Bremen for a reported 8 million euros ($9 million), and the previously agreed signings of defenders Sebastian Rudy and Niklas Suele from Hoffenheim.
“I think they’re really interesting young players for Germany, and now we also have Tolisso, who is already a France international,” Rummenigge said. “I think these four players add real quality to the squad, as well as freshening it up a bit.”
Bayern won the Bundesliga for a record-extending fifth straight year last season.