Bafana striker set for move in France's Ligue 1

Lille's South Africa forward Lebo Mothiba (L) vies with Metz' Senegalese defender Fallou Diagne during the French L1 football match between Lille and Metz on April 28 2018 at the Pierre Mauroy Stadium in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, northern France.
Lille's South Africa forward Lebo Mothiba (L) vies with Metz' Senegalese defender Fallou Diagne during the French L1 football match between Lille and Metz on April 28 2018 at the Pierre Mauroy Stadium in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, northern France.
Image: PHILIPPE HUGUEN / AFP

Bafana Bafana striker Lebo Mothiba is set for a surprise move away from French Ligue 1 side Lille on Thursday as the club seek to cash in on one of their assets in this transfer window.

Mothiba had a medical at fellow Ligue 1 side Strasbourg on Wednesday and should complete a move that would‚ if reports in France are to be believed‚ possibly make him the most expensive South African player ever with a fee potentially rising to €8-million (R135-million).

He would not be the first South African striker to play for Strasbourg‚ where Katlego Mphela had a spell as a teenager‚ though without success.

The 22-year-old Mothiba‚ who has been included in the Bafana squad for the 2019 African Nations Cup qualifier against Libya next month‚ has been a regular starter for Lille since arriving back from a loan spell in Ligue 2 with Valenciennes in January.

His goals played a major role in the club avoiding relegation and he has started the new 2018-19 campaign in fine form as well‚ netting against Stade Rennes earlier this month.

He also netted in a preseason friendly against English Premier League Leicester City and has been roundly praised for his contribution as a target-man striker.

Strasbourg have started the season with four points from a possible nine‚ beating Bordeaux on the opening day before a home draw with St Etienne and an away loss to Lyon.

They have been searching for a striker all through this transfer window‚ with their lead forward Nuno Da Costa from the Cape Verde.

The side are coach by former French international Thierry Laurey‚ who has been in charge since July 2016 and led the team to 15th last season.

Strasbourg’s only Ligue 1 success came in 1979‚ while they are also three-time winners each of the French FA Cup and League Cup‚ with the last of those successes in the latter competition in 2005.

Financial difficulties meant the club were playing in the fifth tier of French football as recently as 2012‚ but they won promotion back to the top-flight ahead of last season.

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