Idrissa Gana Gueye has joined Everton on a four-year deal to June 2020.
The Senegal international, 26, completed his move from Aston Villa today, having spent one season with the Midlands club after forging a reputation as one of the finest young midfield players in France.
Gana made 134 appearances for Ligue 1 side Lille, having emerged from the Diambars Academy in Senegal which was founded by Patrick Vieira and other footballers of African heritage.
He made his breakthrough for Lille in 2010, contributed to their Ligue 1 title success in 2011 and established himself as a regular starter over the following four seasons, during which the French side competed in two Champions League campaigns.
His move to the Premier League in July 2015 brought 38 appearances for Villa and, despite his side’s relegation, only Leicester’s Premier League-winning midfield player, N’Golo Kante, made more interceptions and tackles combined across Europe’s top five leagues.
Gana has been capped on 32 occasions by Senegal and represented his country at the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
He exclusively told evertontv: “I am very happy to be here at Everton and I am very happy and excited to put on the Blue shirt to start the new season here.
“Everton is a big team with big players and great fans. The manager told me he is very happy to have me here and that we will have time to talk about football after.
“I am a defensive midfield player and I like making passes and also getting forward.
“I have played a season with Aston Villa which was a hard season but I think my style is good for the Premier League. You have to fight every game. All the teams are strong and you have to concentrate all through the game.
“Goodison Park is a very good stadium and the fans are very good, too. They push their team forward and I am excited to play there.”
Everton manager Ronald Koeman said: “Idrissa will provide quality in our squad in the midfield and we want to increase the quality in the team. He was one of the players last season with the best record in interceptions and pressing in the midfield. We need this kind of quality and I’m happy to have him joining our Club.”