New Lille signing Timothy Weah says he wants to follow in the footsteps of some of the club’s most notable luminaries, with former players such as Eden Hazard and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang giving him all the incentive he needed to join LOSC.
The 19-year-old forward ended his association with French champions Paris Saint-Germain last month when he penned a five-year deal at Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
And the USA star, fresh from a challenging loan spell in Scotland with Celtic, is keen to get the latest chapter in his career off to the best possible start after catching the eye for his country at this summer’s Under-20 World Cup in Poland.
The striker began his European adventure at the age of just 14, switching to PSG from the New York Red Bulls in 2014 and working his way through the club’s youth ranks.
However, chances at first-team level were limited, and during his five-year stint in the French capital he made just six appearances – mostly in Ligue 1 – registering two goals in the process.
Now, Weah wants to make an early impression and emulate some of Lille’s most celebrated sons in the process.
Speaking at his official unveiling at Lille, the New Yorker said: “I’ve known this club since I’ve played in France, and I want to discover its history.
“Great players have come here like Aubameyang, Hazard and (Nicolas) Pepe, and I am very happy to be here. I know that if I work well, I’ll improve.
“Now the work begins, and I cannot wait to play in front of the fans. For me, LOSC was the best club – they were second in the championship (last season) and qualified for the Champions League.”
The club’s connection with Hazard proved a notable advantage when it came to securing Weah’s signature, with the Belgian beginning his career at the club before going on to score 50 goals in almost 200 appearances between 2007 and 2012.
And after a very different experience in the Scottish Premiership with champions Celtic, the teenager is ready to take inspiration from both his experience in the UK and the former Lille star who joined Real Madrid for €100m this summer.
“I know that Eden Hazard played here,” said Weah. “It boosts me to be in his old club.
“Scotland was a very physical championship, but I gained confidence and learned a maturity of the game. I scored some goals too, so it prepared me to come here.”