Club-record signing Didier Ndong has realised a “dream” after joining Sunderland in a £13.6million deal.
The deadline day deal for the 22-year-old Gabon international midfielder was completed in Geneva after Sunderland officials flew out to seal the transfer.
It smashes the £13million fee shelled out for Asamoah Gyan from Rennes back in 2010.
Sunderland moved quickly to secure Ndong – described as “the new Michael Essien” – after the £7million deal for Sevilla’s Vicente Iborra collapsed and Ryan Mason instead moved from Tottenham Hotspur to Hull City.
Ndong, who has signed a five-year deal, said: “I am very proud and happy to sign for Sunderland.
“This is a new adventure for me and to play in the Premier League is a dream come true.
“Maybe the Sunderland fans don’t know me yet, but I promise that they will quickly discover that I will give everything for them and the club.
“It will be an honour to wear the Sunderland shirt and I will wear it with a true understanding of what it means.
“I am excited to meet everyone at the club, to see the stadium and of course the fans, who I have heard so many good things about.
“Today is the most beautiful day of my life.”
Reports in France say Sunderland paid £13.6million up front, with a further £1.7million if the Black Cats avoid the drop this season and a further £1.7million in the event Sunderland qualify for a European competition while Ndong is still under contract at the club.
A right-footed central midfielder, he began his career at Tunisian outfit CS Sfaxien, where he made 40 appearances for the club before signing for Lorient.
Sunderland also signed Lamine Kone from Lorient in January and the club have dipped back into the French market to secure Ndong.
He is a combative midfielder, scoring twice and picking up 14 yellow cards in 38 appearances for the Ligue 1 side last season.
Ndong is, though, set to miss the first Premier League game back after the international break against Everton on Monday September 12.
With Sunderland scouts watching on, Ndong was sent off 30 minutes into the game against Bastia and will now complete his suspension.
His temperament may be an issue but his pass completion rate is superb, achieving an impressive pass accuracy of 87.3 per cent in the French top flight last season, making on average around 50 passes per game.
Ndong, currently away on international duty, has 18 caps for his country after making his debut for the national team in 2012.