Southampton have made a punt on Chelsea defender Dynel Simeu, who is yet to make his debut in first team football.
The England under-19 international returns to his hometown club where he hopes he can land his first minutes in the senior game.
Simeu’s contract expired at the end of last season but Goal reports that the Saints could potentially shell out £1.5million for him in clauses down the line – a considerable fee for a player yet to blood himself on the professional scene.
The source says that the Blues have added a large sell-on fee into his new deal too.
The Cameroon-born defender signs for Southampton, the city where he grew up, on a three-year deal. He had rejected a new contract at Chelsea despite being at the club since the age of 13.
This gamble by Southampton is far from uninformed, though. The centre-half has been a standout player in the Chelsea academy having captained many a game for their youth sides.
He lifted the 2019/20 Premier League 2 title after being named on the bench for Chelsea’s Round of 16 clash with Bayern Munich that same season.
Speaking on Twitter, he paid tribute to his former employers amid his transfer.
“Unfortunately it’s time to say my goodbyes to @chelseafc (sic),” he said. “I have spent six great years at the club. Grown from a young boy to a man.
“I would like to express my gratitude to the Chelsea staff for giving me a platform to become a professional footballer.
“Teammates who have become very good friends. Supporters who have followed my journey. However I am ready to begin a new challenge else where.”
Simeu admits admiration for Southampton
The hot prospect is not shy about his great respect for Southampton. He previously told Chelsea’s media team about his reverence for the south coast club.
He said: “I came from a Sunday league team in Southampton and with my background I didn’t know many footballers and didn’t even know how Chelsea Academy worked. I thought playing here was unrealistic.
“I admired Portsmouth and Southampton because that’s all I knew, I always dreamed of becoming a footballer but my family and I never thought it was realistic. Then when I got the chance everything happened quickly and it was unbelievable.”
Simeu is expected to slot into Southampton’s youth set-up as he tries to break into the first team.