Southampton has announced the arrival of Lazio centre-back Wesley Hoedt for a reported £15m.
Hoedt, a Dutch international, is the second centre-back signed by Mauricio Pellegrino this summer following the arrival of Jan Bednarek for £5.7m in July.
“I’m really happy to be here,” said Hoedt after his official unveiling. “I think Southampton is a really big club, so it’s a good next step for me to come here and to play in the Premier League and try to help the best I can.”
The arrival of both players had increased speculation over Virgil Van Dijk’s future, despite Southampton’s football vice-chairman, Les Reed, reinforcing the chairman Ralph Kreuger’s claim that the defender will stay at St. Mary’s and will “develop alongside” Hoedt, his compatriot.
“Wesley is one of the most promising young defenders in Europe and represents a significant addition to our squad,” Reed said in an official statement.
“We believe he can develop even further here at Southampton, alongside his international team-mate 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 to help us achieve our aims this season.”
However, although he had took part in training with the Saints’ under-23s squad on Monday, Van Dijk is still unavailable for selection after being heavily linked with a summer transfer to bigger clubs such as Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City and submitting a transfer request earlier this month.