League One side Lincoln City have announced the signing of Irish U21 international Zak Elbouzedi from League of Ireland side Waterford FC.
The 21-year-old joins the club on a three-year deal having impressed in his first season with Waterford finding the net six times as Alan Reynolds side finished sixth in the league.
Elbouzedi has also found himself as a staple of Stephen Kenny’s Republic of Ireland Under-21 side since his appointment, featuring in 10 games and scoring twice.
Elbouzedi joins a Lincoln City side who are 15th in League One after achieving promotion from League Two last season and the 21-year-old is expected to play a big part in the remainder of the campaign.
The move marks a return to English football for Elbouzedi who began his career in England at West Brom before moving to Inverness in Scotland and Waterford FC after that.
Speaking to Pundit Arena following the move, Elbouzedi outlined why he feels Lincoln will be the perfect fit for him going forward.
“It feels like the right step. Lincoln are a club on the up. The new manager plays the right style of football for me and it’s a well run club, they have a really good vision for the future.
“They’re ambitious and realistic as well. I just think it’s the perfect fit at the right time.”
Elbouzedi is manager Michael Appleton’s first signing at the club, something which the young winger feels especially proud of.
“To be the manager’s first signing is a bit special. He’s started his journey at this club recently and I’m going to be starting it with him. It’s good to be getting in early doors. He’s transitioning the team and they play a very good brand of football.”
Lincoln picked up their second league win in a row on Saturday, when they defeated Tranmere by 1-0. Elbouzedi was in attendance at Sincil Bank and was particularly impressed by the passion the home fans showed.
“The club brought me and my family over (for the Tranmere game) so that was brilliant as well. They’re really well run and they look like they’re going to be a great club for the future.
“They play great football as I said and they’ve incredible fans. I think there was about 9000 at the game. They’re really passionate and they don’t stop singing. They want the club to do well and that’s what you want.”
Elbouzedi spoke to Pundit Arena last month and outlined that he had ambitions to return to England after his spell with West Brom, but stressed that it had to be the correct move for him, with the switch to Lincoln, he feels, ticking all the right boxes.
“It had to be the right move for me,” he explained.
“It just feels like this is the right move at the right time. They believe in me, they play a brand of football that will suit me and they’re going to give me the platform to express myself and make a name for myself in England again which I feel is the right thing for me and the right time.”
Subject to international clearance, Zack could make his Imps debut on New Year’s Day as we host Peterborough United