Southampton have signed promising 23-year-old centre back Wesley Hoedt on a five-year contract to end his stay at Lazio, while surely raising further doubts over the future of Liverpool and Chelsea target Virgil van Dijk.
The Saints have announced via the official website the acquisition of the former AZ Alkmaar defender, who spent the past two seasons in Serie A with the Biancocelesti. Following his transfer to the Premier League, vice chairman Les Reed announced his delight at the acquisition of 'a significant addition to the squad'.
“Wesley is one of the most promising young defenders in Europe and represents a significant addition to our squad,” said Reed. “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.
Following the purchase of Hoedt for a reported £15m, this will more then likely increase speculation that want away defender and captain van Dijk, who has consistently been linked with a move to Liverpool and Chelsea, could leave.
Nevertheless, Reed also went on record to say that he is pleased with the versatility Hoedt can offer, while commenting on a possible partnership he could form with compatriot van Dijk.
“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,” added Reed.
“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.”