The 18-year-old played his final match for Birkenhead United on Saturday before flying to France on Sunday
New Zealand teenager Bill Tuiloma has signed for Ligue 1 giants Marseille in an unprecedented move for a Kiwi footballer.
The Ligue 1 club’s official website confirmed the 18-year-old had signed a two-year trainee deal at the Stade Velodrome on Sunday after appearing and scoring twice in his final match for Birkenhead United against Melville United in a Chatham Cup tie on Saturday.
Toulima, who is an under-20 international, declined to comment on the transfer without the permission of his agent but Birko director of football Paul Hobson touched upon its significance to the country.
“I do think it is the biggest-ever signing out of New Zealand: Marseilles are massive – it’s like someone going to England and signing for Arsenal,” Hobson told Stuff.
“It’s a big jump, but I guess they wouldn’t sign him if they didn’t think he could play.”
MLS giants LA Galaxy and A-League side Wellington Phoenix were also said to be interested in Tuilomo but Hobson, who first coached him as an 8-year-old, hinted that the centre back will fulfil his potential in Europe.
“He had loads of ability from the word go,” he added. “He’s the only player I’ve ever known that you could put in any single position, apart from goalkeeper, and he would be pretty much the best player on the pitch.
“He makes things look effortless, he’s got so much time, he’s a natural player.”