Southampton have signed QPR defender Steven Caulker on a season-long loan, Sky Sport reports. Southampton were in the market for a central defender after losing out to Tottenham in the race to sign Toby Alderweireld, who spent last season on loan at St Mary’s from Atletico Madrid. Saints manager Ronald Koeman had spoken of his wish to acquire at least one more centre-back, as well as add some extra height in defence.
Former Tottenham youth product Caulker was available as QPR seek to trim their wage bill after being relegated from the Premier League last season. Sky sources understand Saints have paid QPR over £1m for his services for the season. Caulker, who has one England cap, has become Southampton’s sixth new arrival this summer after successfully completing his medical. He joins Cedric Soares, Jordy Clasie, Cuco Martina, Juanmi and Maarten Stekelenburg.
The 23-year-old defender will compete with Maya Yoshida to partner club captain Jose Fonte at the heart of the Saints defence. Florin Gardos, who joined the club last summer, is currently out with a serious knee injury. He told the club’s official website: “I’m very pleased and very excited. This club has done fantastically well, especially over the last two years. “To now join this club and to be a part of it for this year is something I’ve proud of.
“As soon as I got the phone call to say a fee was agreed with Southampton, I was delighted to get the opportunity to come and play under a great manager. “This club is an ambitious one, so to be part of this is a great opportunity – it’s a chance for me to prove myself. I’m very excited for the season ahead.” Saints boss Koeman said: “I think we are bringing in a good defender, who has made his debut for the national team. He is still a young player – 23 years old. It’s a good opportunity for the player. We need more competition in the centre-back position.
“That’s very good news, I’m very pleased. We are looking forward to work together. He makes the squad stronger than before.” Asked if a permanent deal was possible in the future, Koeman said: “It depends, it depends on what the player brings. We have the option.” Koeman said his summer transfer dealings may not be finished. “I think we need some more players. We have real competition in our squad. We are working on it. But sometimes you need more time. We are not in a hurry.