Brice Samba has sealed his move to Ligue 1 side Lens from Premier League newcomers Nottingham Forest.
The Congolese goalkeeper played a crucial role in the Reds’ promotion to the English top flight, but he has decided to continue his professional career in the French elite division.
He penned a five-year contract with the Blood and Gold which means he will remain at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis until 2027.
“A new challenge in sight! After three years spent in the ranks of Nottingham Forest in the Championship, Brice Samba is back in France,” a statement from the club website read.
“At the age of 28, the Congolese goalkeeper returned to Ligue 1 and is part of the Len project for the next five seasons. The former Caennais brings placement intelligence and physical density to the goal line.”
Born in Linzolo, Congo, Samba began his youth career at Pacy Vallee-d'Eure and Madeleine Evreux before heading to Le Havre, where he was handed his first professional contract.
He moved to Olympique Marseille in 2013 but he was set on loan to Nancy and Caen, before he was signed by Nottingham Forest on August 7, 2019, on a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee.
“It's no secret that he was able to play in the Premier League and the demands he had, following his great season, Brice made a strong choice by coming to Lens,” club’s sporting director Florent Ghisolfi waxed lyrical about Samba’s arrival.
“And it's a positive signal about his determination to play for RC Lens and succeed here. We are convinced that Brice is the right goalkeeper for Racing. It is reaching full maturity. And its potential is enormous.
“His personality and values will blend perfectly with those of our team. We will put all the conditions in place so that his integration is fast and that he can express all his qualities.
“The first was to rebuild the relationship with goalkeeper coach Herve Sekli, with whom he had collaborated in Caen.
“The idea is always to rely on two very good goalkeepers and we are lucky to have Jean-Louis Leca to support Brice.”
With this move, Samba becomes the eighth African in Franck Haise’s squad. The others are Christopher Wooh (Cameroon), Seko Fofana (Cote d'Ivoire), Ignatius Ganago (Cameroon), Gael Kakuta (Congo), Massadio Haidara (Mali), Cheick Doucoure (Mali), and Yannick Pandor (Comoros).