Maia becomes Bielsa’s 12th signing for Lille football club

Lille (France) (AFP) – Lille continued their spending spree under new coach Marcelo Bielsa by making Brazilian midfielder Thiago Maia their 12th close-season signing on Tuesday.

The Ligue 1 outfit confirmed Maia’s arrival from Santos, with French newspaper La Voix du Nord reporting a club-record transfer fee of 14 million euros ($16.32m).

The 20-year-old played three times as Brazil won the 2016 Olympic gold medal on home soil, alongside the likes of Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos and Barcelona star Neymar, who has been linked with a move to the French capital.

“I’ve worked hard since I was a little boy to be able to one day realise this dream of coming to play in Europe,” Maia said in a statement on the Lille website.

Maia joins his compatriots Luiz Araujo and Thiago Mendes in signing for Lille since former Marseille coach Bielsa took over in June.

Lille finished 11th in the French top flight last season, and will be hoping that Argentinian Bielsa can help them return to the Champions League for the first time since the 2014-15 season, when they lost in the play-off round.

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