Lens have beaten Monaco to the capture of Strasbourg midfielder Sidi Keita.
The Principality outfit had been speaking with the Mali youngster for some time, but they failed to agree a deal.
That hesitation allowed Lens to move in and secure his services on a five-year contract.
Keita, who is known for his physical attributes, was keen on staying in Ligue 1 following Strasbourg's relegation last season.
"After lengthy negotiations Sidi Keita has joined Lens and not Monaco," a Lens spokesman told their official website.
"He will solidify the team's midfield."
The 21-year-old is a direct replacement for Alou Diarra, who is expected to join a Spanish Liga team for the coming season.