Virgil van Dijk says Southampton is the perfect step for him after joining the club on a five-year deal from Celtic.
Van Dijk, 24, has spent the last two years in Scotland with the Premiership champions, but heads to St Mary’s to link back up with former teammates Fraser Forster and Dušan Tadić.
The opportunity to come to the Barclays Premier League, he says, is one that he has thought about for many years.
“I think it’s the right time for my development,” van Dijk told youtube.com/southamptonfc. “I’m still quite young, 24, and still have a lot to learn.
“Southampton is the perfect step for me right now. It’s an amazing club. From the people I’ve met already it’s a very good feeling and I’m delighted to be here.
“I know it’s an ambitious club. They have been through a lot throughout the years. They are trying to play football and that’s something that really attracted me.
“I want to play as much as possible, get settled in quick and show everyone what I’m capable of and do well with the team,” he continued.
“We are Southampton and we want to do better than last year. Hopefully that’s something that’s going to happen. I’m feeling good and I’m ready for everything.
“I think it has been a dream for me (to play in the Premier League). As a young boy I think everybody has seen the Premier League. For me now, to get the opportunity to play in the Premier League, is unbelievable.”
Having gained Champions League and Europa League experience already, van Dijk is confident - despite Saints’ disappointment in Europe last week - the club can return to the big stage.
“I was watching the games previously and it didn’t change anything. Unfortunately it didn’t happen but we have a lot of quality to do it next year,” van Dijk affirmed.
“With the quality in the team we can play in Europe. In the future, we will see.”