Southampton have announced their fourth signing of the summer transfer window, versatile defender Cuco Martina, on a two-year contract.
The right-back, who can also play as a central defender and defensive midfielder, follows Maarten Stekelenburg, Juanmi, and Cedric Soares as the newest player to join the Saints, and will join up with the team at their Austrian training camp this week.
The 25-year-old Curacao international previously plied his trade in the Netherlands for Eredivisie side FC Twente, where he made 48 appearances, scoring one goal. He will also be seeing a familiar face in assistant manager Erwin Koeman, whom he knows from his two-year spell with RKC Waalwijk, and is keen to get started with the team.
“I’m very happy to be here at a big club like Southampton. I’ve followed Southampton now for two years and I see they are now a big club.
“I know Ronald Koeman and Erwin Koeman – I worked with Erwin for one year and everything was good. He knows my qualities and I know what he wants.
“It was a dream for me to play in the Premier League and finally I can play now. I hope to play many games and show the fans who I am.”
Martina’s arrival comes at a time when Southampton were certainly in need of defensive reinforcements, following the sale of Nathaniel Clyne to Liverpool, and injuries to key members of the Saints’ back-line.
Executive Director of Football Les Reed told Southampton’s official website:
“Cuco is a versatile and experienced defender who will add strength and depth to our squad ahead of the coming season.
“Injuries to Ryan Bertrand and Bevis Mugabi highlighted the need to bring in another defender, and Cuco is the perfect solution.
“He is another hungry player who is excited about coming to our club, and will provide healthy competition for places in our defence.”
Southampton ended the 2014/15 season with the second best defence in the league, having conceded only 33 goals — just one more than champions Chelsea.
Their recent acquisitions, in addition to the potential signing of Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld (even though he might be joining Spurs), indicate Koeman believes there is even further room for improvement.
Last season, Koeman guided the club to a seventh-placed finish with 60 points, the club’s highest ever Premier League finish, despite the high-profile sales of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers.
The players will certainly be bullish regarding their manager’s hopes to secure Champions League football within the next two years, and if they continue on their current path, their bullishness may well be justified.