Ryad Boudebouz has revealed that the welcome he received in Andalusia and the advice of international teammate Aissa Mandi were influential in convincing him to choose Real Betis when he left Montpellier earlier this summer.
The Algeria playmaker had been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League during the ongoing transfer window, with the Mirror reporting that Everton, Southampton, Newcastle United, Lyon and Lazio were all keen on his services.
However, in something of an unexpected move, he opted to sign for Betis, the side who finished 15th in La Liga last season - the same position where Montpellier finished in France.
"I was welcomed well by the club," Boudebouz told journalists at his official unveiling on Monday, as relayed by Estadio Deportivo. "I am happy to come to Spain and delighted to wear the colours of Betis.
"I spoke a lot with Jonas Martin and Aissa Mandi," he added. "That was decisive in me coming.
"I can't wait for La Liga to begin, I've always loved Spanish football."
The 27-year-old hasn't always demonstrated the exceptional talent he showed at the beginning of his career with Sochaux, but was consistently excellent in Ligue 1 last season.
The Colmar-born midfielder ended the campaign with 11 goals and nine assists, and was the outstanding individual in the MHSC side that occasionally flirted a little too heavily with a relegation battle.
The Andalusian side kick off their Liga campaign away at Barcelona on August 20.