Mathieu Valbuena completes move from Lyon to Fenerbahce
Mathieu Valbuena completed a move from Lyon to Fenerbahce on Tuesday after agreeing a €1.5 million deal with the Turkish club.
After passing a medical, the 32-year-old is expected to sign a two-year contract, with a further year an option, after ending his two-season spell at Lyon.
Valbuena scored 12 goals in 76 appearances for Lyon following a transfer from Dynamo Moscow in 2015, which came after an eight-year spell at Marseille.
The former France international expressed his excitement at the move, telling Fenerbahce TV: “Fenerbahce is a very big club. Fenerbahce had been interested in me before. Fenerbahce is a club that I always feel very close to myself and a desire to come to.
“We have been in constant contact for the last few days and we talked about the goals and the projects. I will be very happy to be part of this great club. I’m very excited.”
The Ligue 1 club confirmed his departure on Tuesday in a statement on their website: “Olympique Lyonnais reports on the transfer of French international Mathieu Valbuena to Fenerbahce for €1.5m, plus incentives for a maximum of €1m euros.
– Fenerbahçe SK (@Fenerbahce) June 13, 2017
“Olympique Lyonnais had accepted the player’s request to make this transfer, given his professionalism and his investment in the OL jersey during these two seasons.
“The club thanks Mathieu Valbuena for all he has brought to OL and wishes him the best success for the rest of his career.”
Valbuena’s agent, Jean-Pierre Bernes, told RMC: “Mathieu really enjoyed himself at Lyon. People said he was pushed to leave, but that’s not true,”
“There was this opportunity. Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas gave me his permission to study the offer from Fenerbahce. The player was happy, everyone was happy with it.
“Fenerbahce really pushed, and we very quickly reached a deal.”
Valbuena’s debut campaign at Lyon was marred by off-the-field problems that led to a dip in form, costing him his place in France’s Euro 2016 squad.
But the former Marseille and Dynamo Moscow midfielder was back to his best last season, contributing eight goals and five assists in 30 Ligue 1 games as Lyon finished fourth.
“This season, he gave his all for Olympique Lyonnais,” Bernes said. “He wanted to show that the first year he had problems which were the reason why his sporting performance was not up to its usual standard.”
Ian is ESPN’s French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman