Soccer-Marseille sign French forward Thauvin from Lille

PARIS, Sept 2 Mon Sep 2, 2013 10:27pm BST

PARIS, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Lille's France Under-20 forward Florian Thauvin has joined fellow Ligue 1 side Olympique Marseille after skipping training for a week to force his way out of a club he never played for.

Local media reports say Marseille, last season's French league runners-up, paid 15 million euros ($19.78 million) for the 20-year-old, who signed a five-year deal on Monday.

"I'm very happy to join Marseille, my favourite club," Thauvin told the club's website (www.om.net).

Thauvin joined Lille in January from Ligue 1 Bastia but was loaned back to the Corsica club for six months and scored 10 goals in 32 league games during his first top-flight campaign.

The pacey forward, who won the under-20 World Cup with France this year, asked to be transferred to Marseille when he returned and did not play a single minute for Lille.

He skipped training last week and Lille, who had turned down Marseille's first offers in June, agreed to reopen talks amid growing dressing room unrest over the winger's stance.

Thauvin is Marseille's most expensive signing of the close season but they have also brought in France winger Dimitri Payet from Lille, midfielder Gianelli Imbula from promoted side EA Guingamp and forward Saber Khalifa from Evian TG.

($1 = 0.7582 euros) (Reporting by Gregory Blachier; Editing by Ken Ferris)