Manchester City boss Kevin Keegan has completed the signing of Cameroon midfielder Marc-Vivien Foe on a one-year loan from French champions Lyon.
« Marc was a long-term target and an absolute key to what we want to do and that is no disrespect to anyone else, » declared a delighted Keegan.
« He is a quality player who has just come back from the World Cup. He is big, strong and a great athlete. He knows English football and was at West Ham where he did very well.
« I know he didn’t stay long at West Ham but that was not to do with how he played. If you talk to any of the players who were there and we have talked to Paulo Wanchope, Eyal Berkovic and Stuart Pearce, all are very respectful of Marc-Vivien Foe. »
Keegan insisted that the arrival of Foe does not signal the end of the road for any of City’s current crop of midfielders.
« Marc plays in that holding role but I am not saying he can’t play it with another person, » he explained. « So that does not rule out Kevin Horlock or anyone else for that matter who may be fighting for that position.
« He is on loan for a year and we have paid a loan fee of £555,000 to have him for this season. And we have an option to purchase him at the end of the season.
« I have talked to him a number of times on the phone and it has not been an easy deal to conclude as loan deals from big clubs are not easy. But it has gone through and we are very happy about it. »
Before moving to West Ham, the 27-year-old was at Lens where he helped then coach Gerard Houllier to the club’s first ever league title in 1996. Houllier was keen to sign Foe when he first arrived at Liverpool.
However, bad luck was to stifle Foe’s hopes of making a splash in the English top flight. A broken leg kept him out of the 1998 World Cup and also put the brakes on a move to Manchester United.
After making his debut for Cameroon as a 17-year-old, Foe has become a keystone of the national side and played in all three matches for his country in the World Cup.
He becomes the fifth high-profile signing of the close season for Manchester City following the captures of Sylvain Distin, Peter Schmeichel, Nicolas Anelka and Matias Vuoso.