Southampton sign Armel Bella-Kotchap from Bochum
Southampton have completed the £10million signing of German under-21 international Armel Bella-Kotchap from Bochum, the club have announced.
The 20-year-old had been watched by scouts from Chelsea and Manchester United as he performed strongly in the Bundesliga in 2021/22, according to The Sun.
But the Saints have stolen in to snap him up during the summer window.
Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said, via the club’s website: “I am very pleased that we have been able to secure Armel’s signing.
“He is a player who fits our profile very well and has a huge amount of potential, but with the number of senior games he has already played he can help us immediately.
“I think he has made the perfect choice in wanting to join us and we will now work with him to make sure he reaches his potential both for himself and for the team.
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“We already have some very strong options in defence and Armel adds more attributes to that list.”
The defender himself said: “It’s amazing and I’m delighted to be here. I think, every young player dreams to play in the Premier League and I’m here and I’m happy and thankful for that.
“The coach has a big impact on me. We speak the same language and his interest was very big in me.
“The club convinced me and said they want to make a project with me and I’m ready to go and I will fight for my place.”
It’s another youngster at St Mary’s as the Austrian manager looks to make the most of up-and-coming talent.
And he looks to have landed a strong prospect after the previous couple of seasons showed Bella-Kotchap capable of making the necessary steps up in quality.
He won Bundesliga 2 in the 2020/21 season while featuring heavily as a teenager, and then remained an important component as Bochum secured a solid mid-table finish in the Germany top flight the following year.
A four-year contract on the south coast has been signed, which might even be on the short side if he continues his development at the same pace.
With a pair of Premier League giants already aware of him he will be quickly on their radar again if he performs well once more.
Should interest regrow from them he might be in line to move on in just a couple of years if Southampton want to ensure they make a healthy profit.
He will have to adapt to the league first before any of that comes into play, but the manager is clearly confident that he can do so.
In other Southampton news, the club have approached Liverpool for Neco Williams.