Brighton complete £23.2m signing of midfielder Carlos Baleba from Lille as Roberto de Zerbi heaps praise on his new recruit: ‘He will be the future of the club’

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Brighton complete £23.2m signing of midfielder Carlos Baleba from Lille as Roberto de Zerbi heaps praise on new recruit: ‘He will be the future of the club’

  • The Seagulls will be hopeful Baleba will soon be able to replace Moises Caicedo
  • He was promoted to Lille’s senior squad last season after starring for the B team
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Brighton have confirmed the signing of Carlos Baleba, who arrives from Lille after signing a five-year deal.

The 19-year-old received high praise from Seagulls manager Roberto de Zerbi after signing his deal for an undisclosed fee, with the Italian branding him ‘the future of the club’.

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The midfielder has put pen to paper on what is a deal believed to be worth £23.2million after starring for Lille in Ligue 1 last season.

After a series of impressive performances for the French side’s B team, he was called up to the senior squad last summer and shone during the season before earning the move on Tuesday.

He will join up with the Brighton squad before their game against Newcastle in the Premier League this weekend.

Brighton have completed the signing of Carlos Baleba in a deal worth £23.2million from Lille

Brighton have completed the signing of Carlos Baleba in a deal worth £23.2million from Lille

Baleba was promoted to the Lille senior team last season and helped them to a fifth-place finish in Ligue 1

Baleba was promoted to the Lille senior team last season and helped them to a fifth-place finish in Ligue 1

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Baleba played 19 times for Lille last season, featuring twice this year before making his move to the Premier League.

Playing primarily in a defensive midfield position, the Cameroon-born man will likely aim to replace Moises Caicedo, who left the club for Chelsea in a £115million deal earlier this month.

On his new signing, De Zerbi said: ‘Carlos is a very good player. He’s very young but a specific player for our style. He will be the future of the club.’

Brighton technical director David Weir, meanwhile, said: ‘We are really happy to be able to bring Carlos to the club.

‘He’s 19 and will need some time to get used to his new surroundings, our culture and the language. He will get all the support he needs to make that transition and we’re looking forward to seeing him in action.’

Brighton manager Roberto de Zerbi described his new recruit as 'the future of the club'

Brighton manager Roberto de Zerbi described his new recruit as ‘the future of the club’

Brighton will be hopeful Baleba will be able to replace Moises Caicedo, who has joined Chelsea

Brighton will be hopeful Baleba will be able to replace Moises Caicedo, who has joined Chelsea

Baleba played academy football in Cameroon before moving to France in January 2022 when he signed for Lille.

His performances immediately caught the eye of the club’s management and he was promoted to the senior team quickly ahead of last season.

He helped the club to a fifth-place finish last season as they qualified for Europe, and leaves them 10th in the table with one win, one draw and one defeat from three games this season.

After starting the first two matches, he was an unused substitute as the side lost 4-1 to Lorient on Sunday. 

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