Done deal: Isaac Lihadji joins SAFC

Sunderland AFC is delighted to announce the signing of Isaac Lihadji for an undisclosed fee.

Arriving from Ligue 1 side LOSC Lille subject to international clearance, the talented 20-year-old has signed an initial two-and-a-half-year contract at the Stadium of Light with a Club option of a further year.

Lihadji made 39 senior appearances during his time at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, including 21 in Lille’s 2020-21 title-winning campaign and three in last season’s UEFA Champions League.

He is one of only two current Sky Bet Championship players to be nominated for the 2022 Golden Boy award, with fellow Black Cat Amad also shortlisted for the prestigious accolade.

Lihadji started his career at Septemes-les-Vallons before moving to Olympique de Marseille aged 14 and rapidly progressing through Les Phocéens’ youth set-up.

He made his senior debut for OM at 17 and went on to feature on one more occasion for the Stade Vélodrome-based outfit, whilst also earning international recognition with France from Under-16 to Under-21 level.

The Frenchman will wear the no.22 shirt and becomes SAFC's second January signing.

Lihadji said: “I can see it’s a beautiful city with supporters who have a great love for football, so I’m happy to be here. The project attracted me because the club inspire young players to improve their level and I am ready for the challenge. I’m excited to play for the club and I’m eager to get on the field.”

Tony Mowbray added: “We are delighted to welcome Isaac to Sunderland AFC and it’s a mark of the Club’s progression that we can attract this level of talent when so many others were in the mix. His playing time has been limited in recent months and we need to manage our immediate expectations, but he will add competition to the squad and we always have one eye on next season. I often talk about how important it is to keep putting talent into the Club, so we are delighted that Isaac has chosen to continue his career with us and we are looking forward to working with him.”

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