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Southampton bags $13 million Croatian defender

Jun 14, 2013, 5:47 PM EDT

Henri Saivet of Girondins Bordeaux fights for the ball with Olympique Lyon's Dejan Lovren during their French Ligue 1 soccer match at the Chaban Delmas stadium in Bordeaux, Reuters

Southampton found a gem as they signed center back Dejan Lovren from Olympique Lyon from France’s Ligue 1.  He can also play right back if needed.

The 23-year-old set the Saints back €10 million ($13.3 million).  It’s the second-highest transfer fee Southampton has paid for a player, behind the purchase of Gaston Ramirez last summer for €15.7 million ($21 million).

Lovren has 17 caps for the Croatian national team, and has two goals for them, including this howitzer, the first of two late goals for the Croats to pip Wales 2-1 back in March.  The national side also boasts names such as Luka Modric, Mario Mandzukic, and Lovren’s partner at the back Vedran Corluka.

The defender said it was always a goal of his to come to England. “After three-and-a-half years in France, it was a dream to play in the Premier League. Now the dream has come true. I have it in my mind to do something big, and I see the same thing in the club.”

He also confirmed the deal on Twitter.

Lovren will partner at Southampton with Maya Yoshida and Jose Fonte at the back, as well as January addition Vegard Forren.

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