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Jonathan Bamba joins Celta Vigo

Celta Vigo have announced the signing of versatile forward Jonathan Bamba on a three-year deal.

Los Celestes have acquired the 27-year-old’s signature on a free transfer after his contract at Lille expired at the end of last season.

Bamba enjoyed a fantastic five-year stint at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy since joining Les Dogues from Saint-Etienne in 2018.

He made 200 appearances for the club, bagging 29 goals and 35 assists en route to winning two major domestic titles.

Alongside Jonathan David, he was one of the architects of Lille’s stunning Ligue 1 success in 2020/21.

Led by Christophe Galtier, they defeated Paris Saint-Germain to domestic glory two years ago, adding insult to injury by overcoming them 1-0 in the Trophée des Champions title that year.

Bamba, one of the most significant members of that memorable campaign, is ready to open a new chapter and leave France for the first time.

Vigo is the Frenchman’s next destination, with new boss Rafa Benitez completing his second summer signing after the arrival of Manu Sanchez from Atletico Madrid.

Benitez replaced underperforming coach Carlos Carvalhal at the end of last season, returning to his homeland for the first time since Real Madrid sacked him in 2016.

Celta hope the veteran manager’s experience could turn the club’s fortunes around following an underwhelming 2022/23 La Liga season, where they barely avoided relegation.

Despite eventually finishing 13th in the standings, only three points clear of 18th-placed Valladolid, they spent the majority of the campaign battling on the periphery of the drop zone.

Benitez’s appointment may also build a solid case for Celta as they aim to convince in-demand starlet Gabri Veiga to stay at Balaidos amid interest from PSG.

They’ve informed Les Parisiens the 21-year-old won’t leave La Liga unless they trigger his €40 million termination clause.

Worryingly for Celta, PSG are not the only club pursuing Veiga’s signature, with Real Madrid, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City showing ambition to end his stint in Vigo.

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