Southampton have completed the signing of VfL Bochum defender Armel Bella-Kotchap.
The highly rated French-born centre back has signed a four-year deal with Saints after making 74 appearances for the Bundesliga side.
According to outlets including Hampshire Live, Bella-Kotchap reportedly gained transfer interest from the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, and Manchester City.
But it’s Southampton who the Germany Under-21 international opted for, adding strength to the Saints central defensive options that include Mohammed Salisu, Jan Bednarek, Lyanco, and Jack Stephens.
Bella-Kotchap made 28 appearances in 2020-21 for Bochum, helping them to promotion back to the Bundesliga after a 12-year hiatus. The 6 ft 3 in defender then made a further 22 appearances for Bochum in the top flight of German football last season.
“It’s amazing and I’m delighted to be here. I think, every young player dreams to play in the Premier League and I’m here and I’m happy and thankful for that,” Bella-Kotchap said in an official press release.
“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 and I’m ready to go and I will fight for my place.”
Similarly, the aforementioned Ralph Hasenhuttl seems excited to see Bella-Kotchap in action for his Southampton side.
“I am very pleased that we have been able to secure Armel’s signing,” Hasenhuttl said in that same press release.
“He is a player who fits our profile very well and has a huge amount of potential, but 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 and we will now work with him to make sure he reaches his potential both for himself and for the team.
“We already have some very strong options in defence and Armel adds more attributes to that list.”
Bella-Kotchap is Southampton’s third summer signing, following the arrivals of Gavin Bazunu and Mateusz Lis last week.