Jean-Philippe Gbamin has completed a €5 million move to Bundesliga side 1. FSV Mainz 05, switching from the French second division to play for a club that will be competing in the UEFA Europa League come the beginning of the 2016/17 season.
Europa League beckons for young defender
Gbamin, who was born in Ivory Coast but has represented France from Under 18 to Under 21 level, made 26 apperances for RC Lens last season and scoring one goal in the process.
The 20-year-old had plied his trade at RC Lens since 2007, coming through the club's academy and progressing to the first team via the RC Lens B squad, ultimately making 91 appearances for the first team over four seasons.
RC Lens used their official website to "thank the player for his nine years of service at the club", and placed on record that they "wish him every success in his new project", which could involve Gbamin appearing in the Europa League for Mainz next season.
Past experience of top-flight football could aid defender
Gbamin has only experienced top-flight football once during his career so far, when he made 33 appearances for Lens in the 2014/15 season as the club competed in Ligue 1 and were relegated straight back to Ligue 2 after finishing in 20th place.
He joins a Mainz side that hopes to build upon a successful 2015/16 season that saw them secure 6th place in the Bundesliga and a spot in the group stage of the Europa League for the first time in the club's history. Their last European appearance came in the 2014/15 season, where they were unceremoniously dumped out of the competition in the third qualifying round by Greek side Asteras Tripoli, with the tie ending in a 3-2 aggregate defeat for Die Nullfünfer.
Gbamin could be in line to make his first appearance at the Coface Arena on September 9 against Hoffenheim, with the club's opening game in the Bundesliga taking place at Signal Iduna Park on August 27 where they will face Borussia Dortmund.