Ghanaian defender Mohammed Salisu says moving to Southampton is a dream come true as he has always had ambitions to play in the Premier League.
The 21-year-old completed his transfer from Spanish side Real Valladolid to Southampton on Wednesday, signing a four-year contract.
His rise to prominence has been a swift one, having only left his homeland two years ago to move to the La Liga outfit, where, after one campaign with their second side, he was promoted into the first-team, shoring up their defence impressively and helping them to a solid 2019/20 season.
It was enough to prompt Saints into acquiring his talents, and the move to the English top-flight, which Salisu would watch as a youngster in Ghana, represents a significant moment in his life.
“For me, it has been a dream since I was a child to play in the Premier League and I am very, very happy to be here,” he said. “We all know it is a very tough league, but I am ready for everything to put all I can into helping the team.
“It is a very good feeling to be a Southampton player. I am very happy to be part of the club and I am looking forward to starting here.
“It’s a very good club for me to develop my skills and to learn a lot as a young player and I’m very happy to join. Southampton has a fantastic history in developing young players and I hope I do my best to add to that group.”
Salisu has been aware of the online clamour among fans for his arrival, and he has been touched by the response the Southampton fans had to rumours of his potential move to the club.
“I saw it and I am very happy they are welcoming me so warmly and that they are happy with me,” he said. “I am going to try my best to put happiness on their faces.”
The move for Salisu has not been a typical one, though, with the COVID-19 pandemic adding a layer of complication, but with the formalities now complete he is looking forward to getting to work with his new teammates.
“It’s been very strange. As we all know, the virus has created a lot of damages, and for me, this is the first time I can’t go home,” he said. “I have moved to the UK to sign and then quarantine for 14 days, so I have found this very tiring. I hope we can find a vaccine soon.
“Now I am in quarantine and I hope I will come out next week and will start training with the first-team and I will be very happy to meet my new teammates. I am looking forward to starting and getting to know everyone in the team.”
Salisu added: “I must thank my family for supporting me and believing in me, as well as my team from Ghana where I started, I want to thank them because they really helped me. The African Talent Football Academy too, because without them I would not have reached where I am today. They helped me and they brought me to Europe.
“I also want to thank Real Valladolid – they really helped me a lot and they always motivated me and I am very grateful for them and I really appreciate it. Also, my agent, I want to give thanks to him, because without him I would not be here.”