Southampton sign Hoedt, back defender to 'develop alongside Van Dijk'

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The defender has joined the Saints after the Premier League club paid Lazio a reported £15 million to have him with his international team-mate

Southampton have completed the signing of Wesley Hoedt from Lazio for a fee believed to be in the region of £15 million.

Centre-back Hoedt arrives as additional cover for his fellow Netherlands international Virgil van Dijk, who remains absent from the Saints' first-team picture after stating his desire to leave.

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Hoedt has agreed a five-year deal at St Mary's Stadium, and becomes the club's third arrival of the transfer window following the captures of Jan Bednarek and Mario Lemina.

The 23-year-old moved from AZ to Lazio in 2015 before establishing himself in the Italian capital and making his international debut earlier this year against Bulgaria.

"Wesley is one of the most promising young defenders in Europe and represents a significant addition to our squad," said Southampton's vice chairman of football Les Reed. 

"Having procured a Champions League finalist [Lemina] from one Italian club we have now added an Italian Supercoppa winner from another.

"We believe he has all the qualities to play a big part in our future, and we have worked hard to bring him to Southampton, with a number of other high-profile clubs interested in him.

"Finding a top-quality central defender is difficult in the current environment and now we have six internationals in this position, both young and experienced."

Hoedt signing

In the statement, the club also seemed to confirm their stance that Van Dijk will remain at the club, mentioning him along with other players they wish Hoedt to "develop "alongside."

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"Wesley has proven his talent through his performances for Lazio, as well as the Netherlands, and we believe he can develop even further here at Southampton, alongside his international team-mate Virgil van Dijk, as well as the likes of Jack Stephens, Maya Yoshida, Jan Bednarek and Florin Gardos."

Southampton had previously stated that despite Van Dijk's request for a transfer, they would not sell the defender amid rumoured interest from Liverpool and Chelsea.

Hoedt added: "I'm really happy to be here. I think Southampton is a really big club, so it's a good next step for me to come here and to play in the Premier League and try to help the best I can."

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