Football: Southampton seal $26M Wesley Hoedt transfer from Lazio. Virgil van Djik's replacement?

Luxembourg's Laurent Jonas (centre) vies with Dutch's Wesley Hoedt (right) during the Fifa World Cup 2018 qualification football match between Netherlands and Luxembourg in Rotterdam, on June 9, 2017.
Luxembourg's Laurent Jonas (centre) vies with Dutch's Wesley Hoedt (right) during the Fifa World Cup 2018 qualification football match between Netherlands and Luxembourg in Rotterdam, on June 9, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - Southampton signed Dutch centre-back Wesley Hoedt from Lazio on Tuesday, the Premier League club said, in a deal that British media reported was worth £15 million (S$26 million).

The 23-year-old, who has won four caps for the Netherlands, joins on a five-year deal.

"I'm really happy to be here," said Hoedt in a statement released by Southampton.

"I think Southampton is a really big club, so it's a good next step for me to come here and to play in the Premier League and try to help the best I can."

Hoedt's arrival will spur further speculation about Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk, who has submitted a transfer request and is wanted by Liverpool and Chelsea.

Southampton, who have also signed Polish defender Jan Bednarek in the transfer window, now have six senior centre-backs.

But Les Reed, Southampton's vice-chairman, appeared to rule out an exit by saying he hoped Hoedt would develop "alongside his international team-mate Virgil van Dijk" at the club.

"Wesley is one of the most promising young defenders in Europe and represents a significant addition to our squad," he said.

Hoedt is the Saints' third summer signing, alongside Bednarek and midfielder Mario Lemina.