Esperance's Youssef Msakni has surprised many in his native Tunisia by opting for Qatari club Lekhwiya over a variety of European clubs that were interested in signing him
Tunisian starlet Youssef Msakni has signed a four and-a-half year transfer deal worth approximately €11.5 million with Qatari side Lekhwiya for whom he’ll begin playing in January, once Esperance’s run in the 2012 Caf Champions League is finished. The surprise move crushed the Tunisian transfer record, with his mother club, Stade Tunisien, earning 20 percent of the sum.
Despite being linked with a variety of European sides such as Lille, PSG, Saint-Etienne, FC Sion, Granada, Espanyol, and most recently, Montpellier, the north African country’s top rated youngster opted for Lekhwiya. The transfer has prompted a flurry of criticism in Tunisia as many of the player’s fans believe it is a poor decision from a sporting perspective.
Nevertheless, the 21-year-old Msakni’s new contract reportedly includes a clause that allows him to leave whenever he receives an offer from a European team that appeals to him.
“Lekhwiya were following the player since the last Africa Cup of Nations and contact with them was ongoing in this subject. Youssef imposed himself on the African football scene and his abilities allowed the sums to keep rising,” said the player’s agent, Khaled Kasbi while speaking to Mosaique FM.
“A lot of parties and a lot of teams wanted him. He had offers from everywhere, many of them well known European clubs. People don’t even know this but Montpellier were trying to get him last night.”