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Southampton have signed Germany Under-21 defender Armel Bella-Kotchap from VfL Bochum, the Premier League club have announced.

The 20-year-old has signed a four-year deal at St Mary’s after making 74 appearances for the German side.

French-born Bella-Kotchap helped Bochum win promotion back to the top flight in 2021 before making 26 appearances as they maintained their Bundesliga status last season.

Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl told the club’s 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.”

Bella-Kotchap played in the junior ranks at Rot Weiss Ahlen before moving to Bochum at the age of 15. He now feels Southampton is the best place to continue his development.

He said: “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 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.”