Wolves summer target Mario Lemina has joined Galatasary on a season-long loan from Southampton.
The midfielder, who turned 26 on Sunday, has signed for the Turkish side with a view to a £16.5m permanent move. Galatasary are understood to be paying Saints a £900,000 loan fee.
Lemina was wanted by Molineux head coach Nuno Espirito Santo virtually right up to the closing of the Premier League transfer window on August 8 but the clubs could not agree a deal and he ended up staying at St Mary’s, where his contract runs to 2022.
The Gabon international hasn’t played this season after angling for a move at the end of last term. He fell out of favour with manager Ralph Hasenhuttl following an explosive interview with France Football which led to him being exiled from the squad.
He said in the French publication: “He (Hasenhuttl) wants to build his group with the players who want to stay at the club, so he left me out. As early as last year, I had set my conditions: I wanted to go elsewhere this summer.
“I had just decided to go to Southampton for two years and see if I could then take another step. I’m not afraid, I made a choice and I take it to the end. I stand by my plan, I decided to tell the leaders I wanted to leave, there is no turning back.”
Last season Lemina’s campaign was marred by an abdomen injury that required surgery in December. He didn’t return to action until April when he came on and netted his only goal for the club against Newcastle.
But he is determined to make up for lost time in his new surroundings. “First of all, I would like to thank the president and everyone who contributed to the transfer,” said Lemina. “This year we will do our best and fight at the highest level. We will move Galatasaray to where it deserves.
“I think (now) the development of the staff is completed, it is time to announce the name of Galatasaray in Europe again. Thank you very much to our supporters, they were very supportive and played an important role in me coming here. I want to do my best for them on the field.”
Lemina made 52 appearances for Saints after joining them in August 2017 in a deal eventually worth £18m to Juventus.
Galatasary, who are ninth in the Turkish League after three games, made it a double loan swoop on south coast Premier League clubs after snapping up Brighton’s Romanian forward Florin Andone, 26.
Lemina wasn’t the only player to leave Saints on what was transfer deadline day in many leagues across Europe. Dutch defender Wesley Hoedt, 25, joined Belgian club Antwerp, also on a season-long loan.