Date: 22nd August 2017 at 11:36pm
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Late yesterday evening Southampton confirmed the arrival of Lazio centre half Wesley Hoedt.

We had been reportedly after the player for a while and manager Mauricio Pellegrino had often been coy on our interest, but the 23 year old has put pen to paper on a five year contract and becomes our third arrival of the summer.

The Dutch international began his career at AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands and moved to Lazio in 2015 and such was his progress he made his international bow earlier this year and is now a regular in the Dutch squad.

Speaking to saintsfc as we announced his capture, vice chairman of football Les Reed explained.

‘Wesley is one of the most promising young defenders in Europe and represents a significant addition to our squad. Having procured a Champions League finalist from one Italian club we have now added an Italian Supercoppa winner from another. We believe he has all the qualities to play a big part in our future, and we have worked hard to bring him to Southampton, with a number of other high-profile clubs interested in him.’

Reed went on to say.

‘Finding a top quality central defender is difficult in the current environment and now we have six internationals in this position, both young and experienced. Finding a naturally left-footed player is even more difficult. We have been tracking central defenders on our target list for the past 12 months and Wesley has always been at the top of that list, so it was important to act when the opportunity came.’

Many will consider his signing as cover for the eventual departure of Virgil van Dijk, but Reed was holding to the line that he joins for competition only.

‘Wesley has proven his talent through his performances for Lazio, as well as the Netherlands, and we believe he can develop even further here at Southampton, alongside his international teammate Virgil van Dijk, as well as the likes of Jack Stephens, Maya Yoshida, Jan Bednarek and Florin Gardos. With Wesley joining those players, we believe we have the right amount of quality, depth and flexibility at centre-back to help us achieve our aims this season.’

Speaking himself as he was announced, he was pleased to have secured a shot at the Premier League.

‘I`m really happy. It has been a long week but I`m happy that everything is finished and I can start my period here at Southampton. I think Southampton is a really big club so the next step for me is to come here and play in the Premier League and try to help in the best way that I can. The Premier League is the biggest competition in the world. I made my first step to Italy and I had a very good two years over there, but it was always the plan to play in the Premier League.’

He went on to say.

‘I’m a strong, physical central defender with qualities on the ball. My main task will be defending but hopefully I can add those qualities on the ball to Southampton. I want to grow alongside the club so I have my goals but the first thing that is important is to start playing, adapt to the league and we will see how far we can go.’

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