London (AFP) – Crystal Palace signed Mali midfielder Cheick Doucoure from Lens in a deal worth a reported £20 million ($23 million) on Monday.

Doucoure agreed a five-year contract with the Premier League club after impressing for Lens in the French top-flight last season.

The 22-year-old was one of Patrick Vieira’s top transfer targets as the Palace boss looked for a replacement for England midfielder Conor Gallager, who has returned to Chelsea after last season’s loan spell at Selhurst Park.

“I’m very happy, I feel a lot of joy and a lot of pride to be a Palace player. I’m proud to be at Palace today,” Doucoure said.

Doucoure is Palace’s third close-season signing following the arrivals of Malcolm Ebiowei and Sam Johnstone.

Palace chairman Steve Parish added: “Cheick’s arrival is yet another statement of intent, demonstrating our ambition to further improve the squad this summer.

“We are extremely confident that Cheick will adapt seamlessly to the rigours of the Premier League and that he will contribute positively to the squad, and I wish him all the very best for his time with us.”