Danish tyro Hojbjerg signs for Southampton


London (AFP) – Highly-regarded Danish international midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg became manager Claude Puel’s first signing for Premier League side Southampton on Monday as he joined from German champions Bayern Munich.

The 20-year-old signed a five year deal with Saints reportedly paying £12.8million ($16.6m, 15m euros) for him — £800,000 more than they received for Italian international striker Graziano Pelle who left for Chinese outfit Shandong Luneng earlier Monday.

Hojbjerg — who won his first senior cap in 2014 — had been sent out on loan the past two seasons to Augsburg and then Schalke 04.

“Pierre is an exciting young talent, who we are delighted to welcome to Southampton Football Club,” Executive Director of Football Les Reed told the club website.

“At the age of just 20, he is already an established international player with Denmark and has gained significant and valuable experience while at Bayern Munich and in the Bundesliga.

“Pierre boasts an impressive pedigree, as well as a great deal of potential, and it is testament to our reputation that he has chosen Southampton ahead of other suitors as the next step in his career.”

Southampton — who finished a best ever sixth in the Premier League last season — have lost Pelle, Kenyan midfield enforcer Victor Wanyama and striker Sadio Mane as well as manager Ronald Koeman since the end of last term.

Hojbjerg is Saints’ second signing of the close season, England Under-21 international midfielder Nathan Redmond having joined from relegated Norwich for £10m before Puel agreed to take the job.

Puel — who guided Monaco to the French Ligue 1 title in his first job in management in 2000 — impressed last season as he coached Nice to fourth in the French championship but he resigned a week before being appointed Saints boss.

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