Southampton sign Poland U-21 defender Jan Bednarek

Southampton have confirmed the signing of defender Jan Bednarek from Lech Poznan.

The Poland U-21 international has agreed a five-year-deal at St Mary’s, becoming the club’s first signing of the summer.

Bednarek said: “I am so happy that I could join a club like Southampton. This is the moment I have worked for that makes my dreams come true. It only gives me motivation to work hard, to show my skills and to help Southampton to get better and better.

“I think it's a good step for me, because I have heard Southampton is such a good club for young players, so I can improve here. I think it will be a good move for me.”

Saints’ first-team squad will return for pre-season on Monday, but Bednarek’s involvement in the U-21 European Championship earlier this month means he will link up with his new teammates later in July.

The 21-year-old was a regular in the Lech side that finished third in the Polish top-flight last term, with the centre-back having represented his country at every youth level from under-16s upwards.

The Premier League club also announced earlier that Jack Stephens signed a new five-year deal at Southampton, .

The 23-year-old defender impressed after nailing down a first-team place following Virgil van Dijk's season-ending injury in January.

England Under-21 international Stephens, who has been with Southampton since he was 17, is highly rated by the club, with executive director Les Reed saying: "Our philosophy at Southampton is to turn potential into excellence, and Jack is somebody who very much embodies this.

"His progression, and the level of his performances, was one of the real highlights of last season, and we have been delighted with his development ever since he joined the club.

"We are extremely pleased to have strengthened our commitment with him, and we believe Jack can continue to improve here and play an important role in our first-team plans moving forward," he told www.southamptonfc.com.

Stephens said: "I am absolutely delighted to extend my stay.

"It feels like home to me. I have really enjoyed my time here and am now looking forward to the next five years.

"It's a massive platform for me now because it just shows how much faith the club have put in me."

Striker Sam Gallagher also signed a new four-year contract at the club.

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