Southampton strike agreement for third summer signing as Tottenham beaten to Armel Bella-Kotchap

Armel Bella-Kotchap playing for Germany under-21s

Southampton are set to seal the signing of VfL Bochum defender Armel Bella-Kotchap, according to multiple outlets.

Bella-Kotchap has spent his entire senior career so far with Bochum. He was with them in the second tier of German football for three seasons, before enjoying his first campaign in the Bundesliga during 2021-22.

The centre-back made 22 league appearances, all of which were starts, as his side finished 13th out of 18 teams. But now, he is on the verge of leaving them behind.

Sky Germany first reported on Tuesday that Bella-Kotchap will become a Southampton player imminently. They revealed a four-year contract has been agreed with the 20-year-old.

He was under contract for two more seasons in Germany, but a fee they could not yet disclose has done the trick for Southampton to lure him away.

Sky‘s report was quickly followed up by similar ones from other sources. For example, The Athletic have been able to divulge the fee that Southampton will be paying.

They claim Bella-Kotchap will cost the Premier League side somewhere in the region of €10m (£8.6m). In addition, his contract will contain the option of a fifth year.

The Paris-born starlet passed a medical ahead of his transfer to Southampton, which could become official imminently.

Bella-Kotchap’s price tag has since been clarified to be €11m (£9.5m) by Foot Mercato and Sky Germany. It is a record sale for Bochum.

The Daily Mail add that the Germany under-21 international will likely have a buyout clause in his contract with his new club.

Bella-Kotchap will follow Gavin Bazunu and Mateusz Lis into the Southampton entrance in terms of summer arrivals. As a defender, he will be competing with the likes of Jan Bednarek, Mohammed Salisu and Lyanco.

Southampton have done well to win Bella-Kotchap battle

Armel Bella-Kotchap, Bochum, in action against Arminia Bielefeld

Southampton seem to have beaten a range of other clubs, including those in the Premier League, to his services. For example, during April he was linked with Tottenham Hotspur.

Instead, Bella-Kotchap’s future will be at the St Mary’s Stadium. Indeed, he has been pictured at Southampton’s media room already.

It is a statement of intent from the South Coast club that they are able to compete with other sides for a promising player.

Overall, Saints have had a productive few days in the transfer market. Only time will tell what other new arrivals they may be able to bring in.

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