Blackburn Rovers have completed the signing of on-loan Marseille defender Gael Givet for an undisclosed fee, it was announced on Friday.
The 27-year-old Frenchman has agreed to a four-year deal at Ewood Park after impressing at the Premier League club during the second half of last season. Givet was one of manager Sam Allardyce's first Blackburn recruits in January after the former Bolton and Newcastle boss replaced the sacked Paul Ince.
A former France international, Givet's ability to play at both left-back and centre-half could prove handy for a Blackburn side whose squad is relatively small by the standards of the Premier League's leading teams.
"It is a critical signing," Allardyce said. "Gael made a massive impact last season while on loan here and I think he can get even better. A player coming from abroad would usually need a fair amount of time to adjust to the different culture, the different climate and the different way of doing things.
"This lad took about two weeks to find his feet. Right from the start he wanted to go out and play, but I resisted. I started to play him in the cup games first and then let him get back to playing as he hadn't played for such a long time.
"But it isn't often that a player makes such a massive contribution from day one, particularly in January.
"There is more to come from Gael," said Allardyce. "Nobody really knew who he was, but I did. I used to watch him playing for Monaco and thought here is a very good player who got blown out for one reason or another by Marseille.
"He came here and made a massive contribution and is a major reason why we stayed up," Allardyce concluded.