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Southampton signs Martin Caceres after delay

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Southampton has signed on Martin Caceres until the end of the season after his brother’s passing had delayed the free agent’s move.

The former Barcelona, Juventus and Sevilla centre-back became a free agent last June, and underwent a medical in Southampton last week but the transfer was delayed after the death of his brother in their homeland.

The Saints had since completed the move and hope that the former Uruguayan International will reinforce their defence after the departure of Jose Fonte to West Ham during the January transfer window and the ankle injury suffered by Virgil van Dijk, who is not expected to return until at least April.

“I am very happy to have signed for what is an important club in English football,” Caceres told the Southampton club website.

“Of all of the options that I had, I think that the best option for me was to come to Southampton. I am extremely happy to have joined this club. I am looking forward to getting started with my new team-mates.”

Caceres, who will turn 30 in April, won 68 caps for Uruguay as well as a Champions League and La Liga title with Barcelona in 2008-09. He also made 77 appearances for Italian champions Juve across three spells, winning four Serie A titles with the club.

Southampton will be keen to see him get up to speed but it may take some time: his last competitive match was on 3 February 2016, when he played for Juventus in a 1-0 win against Genoa, before going down with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Les Reed, executive director at Southampton said: “In a tough situation for us, losing Virgil to injury, he will bring experience, talent and character. He has played in the biggest of games, and will provide depth to our squad.”

“Two days of extensive medicals and tough fitness tests have further demonstrated his desire and positive personality.”