Southampton complete signing of Chelsea centre-back Dynel Simeu, with the Englishman returning to his home club. Born in Cameroon, U19 England international grew up in Southampton after moving to England as a youngster, and the 19-year-old has gone on to appear for England up to the U19 level.

Simeu wrote on Twitter on Monday: ‘Unfortunately, it’s time to say my goodbyes to Chelsea. I have spent six great years at the club. Grown from a young boy to a man.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Chelsea staff for giving me a platform to become a professional footballer. Teammates who have become excellent friends. Supporters who have followed my journey.

However, I am set to begin a new challenge elsewhere.’ The official Blues website states: ‘We thank Dynel for his time at the club and wish him well in the future.’

Dynel’s contract at the London club came to an end at the end of the last campaign, but the centre-back will not be an entirely free signing for Southampton.

A fee of £1.5m has been agreed, report Goal.com, with the English defender signing a three-year deal at St Mary’s and promised a far more direct path to the first team than was available at Chelsea.

Dynel spoke of his admiration for the Saints earlier this year, telling the Blues’ media team: ‘I came from a Sunday league team in Southampton and with my background, I didn’t know many footballers and didn’t even know how Chelsea Academy worked, I thought playing here was unrealistic.’

‘I admired Portsmouth and Southampton because that’s all I knew, I always dreamed of becoming a footballer, but my family and I never thought it was realistic, then when I got the chance, everything happened quickly, and it was unbelievable.’

The 19-year-old defender hailed from the Saints originally and joined the Blues at age 13 after a successful trial.

Simeu would often captain youth sides on his way up the ladder, eventually finding himself training with the first team and even making the injury-hit bench in our final match of the pandemic campaign, away to Bayern Munich in the Champions League Round of 16 in 2020.

Alas, Simey never quite got to make his debut. The Blues will reportedly receive a £1.5m transfer fee (agreed in lieu of a fee set by the tribunal, which would’ve been the case due to Dynel’s age), with a “sizable” sell-on fee.