Southampton sign former Barcelona and Juventus defender to bolster depleted backline

Southampton have completed a deal to sign defender Martin Caceres until the end of the season. The Uruguayan international was available on a free transfer and can sign for the Saints outside of the transfer window as a result. He’s highly experienced at the top level, boasting a Champions League trophy and multiple league titles in Spain and Italy, and described Southampton as the “best option”.

“I am very happy to have signed for what is an important club in English football. I am looking forward to getting started with my new teammates. Of all of the options that I had, I think that the best option for me was to come to Southampton. I am extremely happy to have joined this club,” he said. With Jose Fonte sold to West Ham United and Virgil Van Dijk suffering a lengthy injury, Southampton were short on options at the back.

Jack Stephens and Maya Yoshida have partnered each other in the absence of the aforementioned duo, but the South Coast club now have an experienced player in Caceres to marshal the backline. The 29-year-old has played for Juventus and Barcelona among other clubs, and is a shrewd acquisition given the Saints struggled to bring in another defender in the January transfer market. Southampton’s Executive Director Les Reed was delighted to have signed the 29-year-old.

“Recruiting players in January is an extremely difficult task, and this year was a particularly challenging market for centre-backs. We set out to recruit a high-calibre player in that position during the January window so I am delighted that, following extensive work and persistence, we have now been able to sign Martin Caceres on a short-term contract,” he said.

“Martin is a great talent, who has played at the very top level and won many trophies and medals. He is a very experienced international player for Uruguay and has enjoyed notable success with both Juventus and Barcelona. In a tough situation for us, losing Virgil to injury, he will bring experience, talent and character. He has played in the biggest of games, and will provide depth to our squad.

“Two days of extensive medicals and tough fitness tests have further demonstrated his desire and positive personality. I know Martin can’t wait to start playing again. We welcome him to St Mary’s, and his family into our family,” Reed added.