By Nnamdi Onyeagwara

1st Sep, 2022 | 7:32am

Ralph Hasenhuttl: Southampton starlet Armel Bella-Kotchap 'perfect for the Premier League'

Southampton youngster Armel Bella-Kotchap’s bright start to life at his new club has even surprised his new manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.

The 20-year-old has had a string of solid performances at the heart of the defence, especially in the 2-1 win over Champions League hopefuls Chelsea.

However, his start to life on the south coast has surprised Hasenhuttl who believes the defender is perfect for the Premier League.

As quoted by HampshireLive, Hasenhuttl said: “I must say it is surprising but when you see his physicality and the quality he has, he is perfect for the Premier League.

“This is what we hoped for in the summer.

“I was questioning if he had the right mindset but it seems that he is fully focused.”

Bright start!

It has been a very bright start to life for the 20-year-old defender who joined the club from German side VFL Bochum earlier in the window.

The Germany under-21 international, who has made nine appearances for his country at youth level, joined the Saints for a reported £10m fee after four years with the German side.

Bella-Kotchap, who is also of Cameroonian descent, joined the club as part of a youth strategy that saw the club sign several other young stars like Bourdeux’s Sekou Mara and Man City’s Romeo Lavia.

However, he has fitted into the starting line-up seamlessly, looking composed and mature beyond his years at the heart of the Southampton back-line.

His performance against Chelsea was his best yet, as he easily dealt with any threat Kai Havertz offered and was the best defender on a pitch that included Thiago Silva and Kalidou Koulibaly.

If he can continue this positive start, the £10m the Saints paid for him earlier this summer will soon look like an absolute steal.

In other Southampton news, Romeo Lavia scored his first senior goal against Chelsea.