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STU’S SAINTS HOPES

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STUART ARMSTRONG has completed his £7million move from Celtic to Southampton and penned a four-year deal, as reported by CQN yesterday.

The Scotland international playmaker, 26, cost £2million when he arrived in a joint deal with Gary Mackay-Steven from Dundee United in January 2015 and was about to enter the final 12 months of his contract.

Armstrong leaves the champions with the best wishes of manager Brendan Rodgers who, while looking to the future, brought in Manchester City’s Olivier Ntcham for £4.5million last summer to fill the position alongside skipper Scott Brown.

The midfielder hopes to be an instant hit with the club that escaped relegation from the top flight last season by a solitary point.

He said: “Southampton seems a really good fit for me. Watching from afar, I really enjoy the attractive football that they play and I’m very happy to be here.

“Every season, I put demands on myself to create and score goals.

“I hope going forward from here that it will be the same this term at St Mary’s.

“I’m looking forward to meeting everyone and I’m very excited to get started. It’s a four-year contract; there will be a lot to learn and I want to hit the ground running.”

New boss Mark Hughes, who took over the team when it appeared to be in freefall in the last campaign, said: “Stuart is a player we have admired for some time and I am delighted we have been able to bring him here, especially given the competition we faced to sign him.

“We have strong players in the squad and it is important we build on that by adding different qualities. It is important we add a greater goal threat to the team as a whole and to our midfield specifically.

“Stuart’s record of scoring and creating makes him an extremely exciting addition in that area.

“He brings with him extensive experience of European football and has developed his game impressively over the past few seasons at a major club in Celtic, where there is a demand not only to perform, but also to win. Stuart has done both during his time there.

“Our research tells us he is an excellent young man, intelligent and a strong team player. Clearly, having another really good character in our group is part of what we want here at Southampton.

“He has shown tremendous drive to improve and has also displayed a great desire to be a part of what we are trying to achieve here.

“I believe he will be a real asset to the squad in the years ahead.”

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