Istanbul (AFP) – French international striker Bafetimbi Gomis on Wednesday arrived in Istanbul to sign for Turkish top flight side Galatasaray from Swansea City of the English Premier League in a reported three million dollar deal.
Gomis, 31, was mobbed by hundreds of excited Galatasaray fans chanting club songs and brandishing its yellow and red colours after arriving at Istanbul’s main airport.
He was whisked away from the frenzy by club minders as fans let off smoke flares, an AFP photographer said. He is due to sign for the club after a medical this week.
After days of speculation, the Turkish side earlier confirmed it was in official talks over the player.
“Galatasaray has begun transfer talks with the footballer and the club,” the Turkish side said in a statement.
Swansea said on its Twitter account that Gomis was joining Galatasaray for an “undisclosed fee”, adding: “Good luck Bafe!”
Following a five-year stint at Lyon, Gomis signed for Swansea in 2014. He did not make the hoped-for impact and spent the 2016-2017 season on loan to Marseille, scoring a career-best 20 Ligue 1 goals.
Turkish sports website NTVSpor said Swansea would receive a transfer fee of 2.5 million euros ($2.8 million) while the player would have an annual wage of 3.5 million euros as well as bonuses.
“Today I am turning the page and I have decided to leave for a new experience, (but) I leave with a heavy heart,” Gomis wrote in an apparent farewell to Marseille fans on his Instagram page that did not mention Swansea.
Galatasaray are expected to go on a summer spending spree after finishing fourth in the Super Lig last season, well behind champions and Istanbul rivals Besiktas.
The result was unacceptable for fans of Galatasaray, which has won more Turkish championships than any other club.
The future of its Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder — who has been the fulcrum of the club’s attack since joining in 2013 — is uncertain while German marksman Lukas Podolski is leaving for Japan’s Vissel Kobe.
Galatasaray also said it was in talks over signing the French-born Moroccan international midfielder Younes Belhanda from Dynamo Kyiv of Ukraine.
He played for French club Nice on loan last season.
Galatasaray last week also signed Brazilian central defender Maicon Pereira Roque from Sao Paulo in a deal reportedly worth seven million euros for the Brazilian club.
French attacking midfielder Mathieu Valbuena meanwhile is due on Thursday to sign for Galatasaray’s arch Istanbul rivals Fenerbahce after arriving in Istanbul earlier this month.