Southampton confirm third January arrival as Nathan Jones reunites with Luton Town defender
Southampton have secured their third signing of the January transfer window after confirming the arrival of Luton Town right-back James Bree.
Manager Nathan Jones is well-acquainted with the defender following their time at the Hatters together and believes he could be a real asset to his squad.
The Saints currently find themselves bottom of the Premier League table, so they will hope that Bree can add some much-needed stability to their back line.
Bree has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract at St Mary’s for a reported transfer fee of £750,000, joining two other winter arrivals: Mislav Oršić and Carlos Alcaraz.
As mentioned, Southampton have endured a poor start to the campaign, currently sitting joint-bottom with Everton after winning just four of their 20 opening league games.
Statistically, they also have the joint-second worst defensive record in the league, conceding 35 goals so far after some shoddy performances from the likes of Armel Bella-Kotchap, Lyanco and Duje Caleta-Car at the back.
Bree is a versatile defender, with the ability to play as a full-back or centre-back, so he could provide solid cover in a number of positions for Jones.
Also, their current first-choice right-back Nathaniel Clyne turns 32 in two months’ time, so Bree, 25, represents a more long-term option for the Saints.
Bree has made 143 appearances for the Hatters, playing a key role in helping them reach the Championship play-offs last season, while also contributing significantly to their promotion push in the current campaign.
Bree ‘delighted’ to join a Premier League club, while Jones hails his ‘versatility’
Indeed, Jones is clearly very happy to have got a deal for his former player over the line.
Speaking to the Southampton FC website, he said: “James is obviously someone who I know well from our time together at Luton, and he has the qualities both on the pitch and also in terms of his character to help us here.
“While we have really talented players in the full-back positions, we have been lighter on numbers than we would have liked, so the addition of James to the squad really helps us to address that.
“He’s also comfortable playing at centre-back too, so that versatility helps gives us another good option in a number of areas.”
Bree is ecstatic to have made the January switch to St Mary’s, after working his way up from from Barnsley, to Aston Villa (while they were still in the Championship) to Luton Town and finally, to Southampton in the Premier League.
He said: “I’m absolutely delighted. As soon as I had the chance to come to this huge club, a Premier League opportunity for myself as well, and obviously get to work with my old gaffer, I knew it was the right decision straight away and I didn’t have to think twice about it.
“It’s something I’ve dreamed of since I was a little kid, making my Premier League debut and obviously for a team as big as Southampton. It’s something you dare to dream about.”
Southampton’s next league game comes against Brentford, so it will be interesting to see if Jones throws him straight into the action.
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