Saints have strengthened their defence with the signing of Japanese centre half Maya Yoshida.

The 24-year-old is joining the club from Dutch side VVV-Venlo, for a fee believed to be around £2m.

Yoshida, who is understood to have had a €3m buyout clause in his contract, has agreed a three-year-deal at St Mary’s.

The player has already been granted a work permit, and is now only awaiting his entry clearance.

In a statement, VVV-Venlo said: "On behalf of everyone at VVV-Venlo we wish him every success at the Saints."

The defender captained his country at the Olympic Games, and has been selected in the Japan squad for their friendly with UAE on September 6 and World Cup qualifier against Iraq on September 11.

Yoshida started his career at Nagoya Grampus before a move to Eredivisie outfit VVV-Venlo in 2010.

Since then, he has gone on to make more than 50 appearances for the Dutch side, scoring five times.