Premier League outfit Southampton have this evening revealed that they hope to develop new signing Wesley Hoedt alongside wantaway defender Virgil Van Dijk.
Southampton confirmed the signature of Lazio defender Hoedt this evening on a 5-year deal, with the general consensus being that the 23-year-old has been brought in to replace Virgil Van Dijk at St. Mary’s.
Van Dijk, who enjoyed a stellar campaign last season to establish himself as one of the Premier League’s most in-demand defenders, has made no secret of his desire to move on from Southampton this summer, with the Dutchman having gone as far as to hand in an official transfer request.
However, the board at St. Mary’s have thus far been adamant that they will not part ways with their crown jewel for any less than his reported £50 million price-tag.
With neither Liverpool nor Chelsea having been willing to splash out such a figure on Van Dijk to this point, there have been murmurs that the classy stopper could end up remaining with the Saints this summer.
And tonight, the club seem to have confirmed their intention to keep hold of Van Dijk for the coming season, via the following statement from vice-chairman Les Reed on new signing Hoedt.
‘Wesley is one of the most promising young defenders in Europe and represents a significant addition to our squad.’
‘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.’
Crucially, Reed continued:
‘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.’