BOSS Ralph Hassenhuttl hailed latest recruit Armel Bella-Katchop as boasting a “huge amount of potential” – but also shared his belief that the defender will be able to contribute “immediately.”

German under-21 international Bella-Katchop became Saints’ third addition of the window, with the club agreeing a deal with VfL Bochum rumoured to be worth €11 million, although it is officially undisclosed.

The centre-back has signed a four-year deal with a reported option for Saints to extend the contract for a fifth year.

Only 20-years-old, Bella-Katchop has already made over 70 senior appearances for Bochum in the German first and second tiers.

Speaking about his new signing, manager Hasenhüttl told Saints’ website: “I am very pleased that we have been able to secure Armel’s signing.

“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.”

Described as physically ready for the rigors of senior football, pundits in Germany have highlighted Bella-Katchop’s ability to lose concentration.


Paris-born Bella-Katchop’s previous boss, Thomas Reis, had previously chastised the youngster in the press for his performances in training.

Reis was previously quoted by German publication Kicker as saying: "Armel has outstanding skills, but sometimes the focus is lost, so I want to help."

“Some mistakes are certainly due to a certain nervousness. With his stature, you sometimes forget that he is only 19.”

“He shouldn’t think he’s already a Champions League player.

“If Armel stays clear, then nobody can stop him in his career.”

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