SAINTS have announced young defender Armel Bella-Kotchap as their third signing of the summer.

The highly-rated 20-year-old arrives from German outfit VfL Bochum, and has penned a four-year contract with Saints.

The fee is reportedly in the region of £9.5million.

Born in France, Bella-Kotchap has spent all his playing career in Germany.

He joined Rot Weiss Ahlen aged just four, before eventually switching to Bochum as a 15-year-old.

The centre-back was soon capped by Germany's youth teams, and he is now a regular for the under-21s.

Despite his tender age for a defender, Bella-Kotchap has played 73 times for Bochum.

That included 22 appearances in Germany's top flight last season, having helped them clinch promotion the previous term.

After completing his move to St Mary’s, Bella-Kotchap said: “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.

“The coach (Ralph Hasenhuttl) 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.”

Bella-Kotchap is the third player to arrive at Saints this summer, following in the footsteps of goalkeepers Gavin Bazunu and Mateusz Lis last week.

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