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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Porto sign Giannelli Imbula from Marseille for €20 million

Giannelli Imbula impressed in midfielder for Marseille to draw the attention of a number of top clubs.

Porto have signed Marseille midfielder Giannelli Imbula for a fee of €20 million.

Imbula, 22, drew favourable comparisons with Patrick Vieira for his leggy build and all-action displays in midfield for OM last season, with the player's father confirming former Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti was an admirer.

The player had been linked with Inter and Chelsea among others, but has signed a five-year deal with the Portuguese side with a buyout clause of €50m.

Imbula told the club's official website: "I'm extremely pleased to have signed for Porto. The sporting project is what moved me here. This is a club with many European titles in its history, with a great team, good players, and I am hoping it will be even better with my help.

"I talked to the coach [Julen Lopetegui] two or three times, and he convinced me to come. He told me that the way the team plays will be convenient for my qualities.

"I am happy to be here, at Porto, and I am hoping we can win many titles."

Earlier reports had suggested that Doyen Sports would contribute almost half of the fee to Marseille, though Porto have confirmed that the club hold "full percentage" of his rights.

The Belgian-born player is also eligible for France and Congo at international level, and has featured for Les Bleus at under-20 and under-21 level.

Imbula hit back at any suggestions he was moving to Portugal for the money -- with the 22-year-old reportedly set to become the highest-paid player in the Dragons' history -- by adding: "Porto isn't known for giving plenty of money to youngsters, so no one can accuse me of being a gold digger.

"I came here for the confidence relayed in me and for the sporting project I was shown. Leaving Marseille over Porto feels like I'm moving up in my career and I hope I'm able to confirm all the hopes the team has in me."

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