DEFENDER Taylor Harwood-Bellis has officially completed a permanent move to Saints, signing a four-year deal.

Southampton's obligation to buy the 22 year old,  set at £20million, was triggered when they won promotion via the play-offs in May.

Harwood-Bellis joins Adam Lallana as a summer signing, while Saints are also expected to confirm Charlie Taylor's free transfer move.

England youth international Harwood-Bellis made 46 appearances during his loan spell at St Mary's, scoring twice and laying on four assists.

He said: “It’s no secret how much I enjoyed being here last season, so I’m delighted to officially become a Southampton player ahead of the new season.

“The feeling of bringing this club back to the Premier League and playing in front of these fans week-in and week-out has been amazing.

“I’ve learnt a great deal over the past two years and developed so much as a player and as a person.

"To have the opportunity now to represent this club in the Premier League is really special and I can’t wait to get going and to see all the lads again.” 

Saints boss Martin said: “We’ve had nothing but good words to say about Taylor since he joined the club last season. Not only with his performances but how he’s fit into the group.

“His excitement for the game is infectious and you can see how much he’s enjoyed being here.

“He’s ready now for that step up to Premier League football, and we’re really lucky to have an exciting young defender like him at our club.”

Taylor Harwood-Bellis celebrates with the Championship play-off trophyTaylor Harwood-Bellis celebrates with the Championship play-off trophy (Image: PA)

READ MORE: Taylor Harwood-Bellis delighted to sign at Southampton permanently

Earning a permanent contract in the Premier League with Saints was a major motivational factor for Harwood-Bellis last term.

Speaking in the aftermath of their promotion, he told the Daily Echo: "This was the aim. There was nothing else on my mind.

"I had to get promoted because I want to play in the Premier League. There is no better manager, coaching staff or set of players who I would rather play in the Premier League with.

Harwood-Bellis is the current England under-21 captain and skippered them to European Championship glory in 2023 before joining Saints on loan.

Manager Martin has backed the central defender to become a full England international in the future.