French holding midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has joined Everton from Manchester United for an initial fee of £20 million, the Merseyside club said on Thursday.
The 27-year-old signed a four-and-a-half-year contract in a deal that could rise to £24 million (27.5 million euros, $29 million) with bonuses.
The move reunites Schneiderlin with Everton manager Ronald Koeman, beneath whom he worked for one season during his time at Southampton.
“Everton is a big club in the history of English football,” Schneiderlin said in comments published on the Everton website.
“I’ve always loved the atmosphere in the stadium. I’ve always liked playing here. I can’t wait to play and to represent this great club.
“There is a manager in place here that I know. I know he can get the best out of me, I know his style and how he likes to play football.”
Schneiderlin made just eight appearances for United following Jose Mourinho’s appointment as manager last year.
He posted a picture of himself in a United shirt on Twitter, accompanied by the words: “Thank you Manchester United.”
He added: “Thanks to all the fans for your support. I wish you all the best for the future!”
Schneiderlin’s arrival is a timely piece of business for Koeman, who has just lost Senegalese midfielder Idrissa Gueye to the Africa Cup of Nations.
“I’m very pleased because I know the player, I know the qualities of the player, I know him as a person and he’s really desperate to come to Everton — and that’s what we need,” Koeman said.
“We want good players, but we also want players who really want to show their qualities in front of the fans of Everton.”
Everton subsequently announced that Tom Cleverley, himself a former United player, has been loaned to Watford until the end of the season with an option for a permanent move.
Schneiderlin, capped 15 times by France, joined United from Southampton for a reported fee of £25 million in 2015.
But despite playing regularly under Louis van Gaal he disappeared from view under Mourinho.
In total he played 47 games for United, scoring one goal, ironically against Everton in October 2015.
Mourinho had revealed that Schneiderlin was close to completing a move to Goodison Park after United’s 2-0 League Cup semi-final first-leg win over Hull City on Tuesday.
“I’m sad and I’m happy,” Mourinho said. “I’m sad because I like him and he could be an option for us in a long season.
“I’m happy because this is what he wants. He wants to play every game and wants to be an important player in the team.”