Southampton have completed the signing of Germany U21 defender Armel Bella-Kotchap from VfL Bochum, with the player using his first interview to lift the lid on why he’s moved to St Mary’s.
The 20-year-old has been making big waves in the Bundesliga, playing 26 times for Bochum in 2021/22. And when Saints came calling, Bochum were powerless but to accept a sizeable £10m bid for his services. Indeed, we revealed earlier on Tuesday how Saints have beaten Tottenham to his signature.
And having signed a four-year deal, Bella-Kotchap was quick to explain his reasons for the move.
“It’s amazing and I’m delighted to be here. I think every young player dreams to play in the Premier League,” he told the club’s official website. “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. I’m ready to go and I will fight for my place.”
Clearly Ralph Hasenhuttl helped lure the defender to Saints. And the boss was also extremely happy to welcome the player to the club.
“I am very pleased that we have been able to secure Armel’s signing,” Hasenhuttl said.
“He is a player who fits our profile very well and has a huge amount of potential. And 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. We will now work with him to make sure he reaches his potential both for himself and for the team.”
Bella-Kotchap joins Gavin Bazunu and Mateusz Lis as new arrivals at Southampton this summer.
Neco Williams may follow Armel Bella-Kotchap to Southampton
Southampton, meanwhile, have reportedly made an approach to sign Neco Williams from Liverpool.
Hasenhuttl is looking to bring in right-back cover for the new season after seeing Tino Livramento suffer a serious knee injury in April. The full-back is likely to be sidelined until later this year with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
The full-back spent the second half of the 2021/22 season with Fulham, making 14 appearances. They are keen to secure his signing permanently.
And Liverpool are willing to let him leave, having recently finalised the signing of Calvin Ramsay.
Reports claim Liverpool want as much as £20m for Williams. While his fee is unlikely to reach that high, an auction between Fulham and Southampton may drive up his price.
According to Sky Sports News, it is Saints who have made the first move for Williams. As per the broadcaster, Saints have approached Liverpool over a move to sign the 21-times capped Wales full-back.