Brentford FC have signed Congolese international winger Yoane Wissa on a four year contract, with the option of a further year, subject to international clearance. The 24-year-old completed his move from Ligue 1 side Football Club Lorient-Bretagne Sud, better known as FC Lorient, earlier today, Tuesday 10 August, for an undisclosed fee.
Wissa has played a key role in Lorient’s rise to the French top-flight in recent years, netting 27 times over the past two seasons. Featuring in each of their last 82 league matches, stretching back to January 2019, he was Les Merlus’ top scorer with 15 goals during their 2019/20 Ligue 2 title-winning campaign and struck double figures again last season in Ligue 1 as they avoided relegation on the final day. In total, his three-and-a-half years in Brittany saw him net 37 goals, with 17 assists, in 128 outings.
Brentford FC Head Coach, Thomas Frank, said: “Wissa is someone who fits many different positions for us. He can play as a winger, as a number 10, and as a striker. He has that pace and power which we think is really important to be a threat in behind. He has good ability to take on players and create overloads. He also has good pressing abilities; he will need to learn our style of play but he fits the pressing criteria we want from a winger, a striker, or a number 10. He had one good season in Ligue 2 and one very good season in Ligue 1 and now we look forward to developing him further. I’m sure that he will help the team. He is a very good character as well; everyone knows that it is very important for our culture that we only get good characters in. He is very keen to come in and help the team and we are very keen to get him in.
Brentford FC co-Director of Football, Phil Giles, said: “Yoane is a player we tried to sign last January to help us achieve promotion to the Premier League. Lorient preferred at that time to keep him to ensure they secured another season in Ligue 1, so it was a priority to make another attempt to sign him this summer. He really wanted to join Brentford so we are all very pleased that this transfer has finally come together after months of work.”
Born in northern Paris, Wissa played for his local youth clubs before joining LB Châteauroux as a 16-year-old. After two-years within La Berrichonne’s youth set-up, the then-18-year-old made an immediate impact for the Championnat Nationale side scoring six goals, with three assists, during his first 13 appearances. He ended that season with seven goals and five assists in 23 matches ahead of a move to Ligue 1 side Angers.
Wissa played just 25 minutes of Ligue 1 football for his parent club during his 18-months spent in the Loire. Sent out on loan, he scored twice in 15 Ligue 2 appearances for Stade Lavellois during the second-half of the 2016/17 campaign before joining another second tier side, AC Ajaccio, for the 2017/18 season. He scored 11 goals in 23 appearances for the Corsican outfit up to January, earning a move to Lorient at the end of the month. Coming up against both Julian Jeanvier and Saïd Benrahma that campaign, Wissa scored four goals during the closing stages of the Ligue 2 season as Lorient missed out on the Play-Offs by just three points.
FCL went even closer to promotion the following campaign, this time missing out on goal difference with Wissa contributing six goals and six assists over 40 games in all competitions. The 2019/20 campaign was a successful one for both player and club as Wissa struck 15 times in 28 appearances, helping Lorient win the league title, earning a return to the top-flight after a three-year absence.
Wissa took to the French top-flight instantly, netting four goals in Lorient’s first seven matches. During the season he went past 100 games for the Brittany club and finished as second-top scorer at the Stade du Moustoir, his ten goals helping his side avoid relegation on the final day.
That form did not go unnoticed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo who handed Wissa his international debut last October. After a 3-0 defeat to Burkina Faso, the 24-year-old then netted the equaliser as Congo drew 1-1 with Morocco in Marrakech on his second international outing.
In total, Wissa arrives in West London with 57 goals and 25 assists to his name in 192 domestic appearances.