Reading swoop for Ivory Coast star Fae
Reading served notice of their intentions for the new season today by breaking their club record to sign Ivory Coast international Emerse Fae from Nantes.
The Royals have paid an initial fee of around £2.5million for the 23-year-old midfielder, who has penned a three-year deal with the option for a fourth season.
Fae, whose fee could rise according to appearances, is only the second new face to join during the close season following Kalifa Cisse's arrival in May.
He will be handed the number 20 shirt for the new season and revealed his heart was set on a move to the Madejski Stadium as soon as Reading's interest became apparent.
He said: 'I've been waiting for this moment for a long time and now that it's done I'm very happy.
'Reading have been following me for a long time and I was interested as soon as I heard that they wanted me.
'I want to play here and win games in this magnificent stadium and I'm happy to work with Steve Coppell, he is a good manager.'
The midfielder has already made more than 100 appearances for Nantes and was a member of the French Youth World Championship winning side in 2001 before switching national allegiances to the Ivory Coast. He was a part of the Elephants' 2006 World Cup squad.
Royals director of football Nick Hammond was relieved to have secured the player's services after revealing the club had been keeping tabs on him for some time.
He said: 'We have tracked Emerse for a considerable period of time, and we feel that the deal we have agreed with Nantes represents very good value, especially in the current market place.
'He loves to break forward and drive with the ball, and will offer something a little different to the other midfielders within our squad.'
Chairman John Madejski added: 'This is a very important signing and I am delighted to welcome Emerse to Reading Football Club.
'He joins us at a very exciting time as we prepare for our second season in the Premier League, and we are confident that he will prove to be a very good signing.
'We have been focused and selective with our transfer activities this summer and Emerse is a player we have been interested in for a long time, so it is very rewarding that our patience has borne fruit.'