Kiko Femenia

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Watford, Southampton add defenders from Spain, Poland

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Watford and Southampton have strengthened their back lines ahead of the 2017-18 Premier League season.

Saints nabbed 21-year-old Lech Poznan center back Jan Bednarek, who is with Poland at the U-21 EURO.

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Bednarek stands 6-foot-2 and made 31 appearances for his Polish club last season, and it sounds like he’s a bit awed by his early experiences at St. Mary’s:

“It’s like a different kind of place to which we see in Poland,” said Bednarek of the facilities at Staplewood Campus. “It’s modern, it’s so big. There is everything that you need to improve. I will do everything to use this time here.

As for the Hornets, they’ve added former Barcelona B and Real Madrid B back Kiko Femenia.

The 26-year-old right back made his name with Alaves the last two seasons, boosting the club into the top flight before making 37 appearances in La Liga. Femenia averaged 1.5 interceptions and 1.3 clearances per game last season.

Bednarek seems one for the future, while Femenia is a bit of a risk from Watford in terms of immediate impact. He was not a star for his club in La Liga, but could his style be a better fit in the PL?

Saints get young Polish defender, Watford sign 2

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It’s been a busy morning for deals in the Premier League now that the transfer window is officially open.

Southampton has completed the signing of 21-year-old defender Jan Bednarek, the club announced Saturday morning. The young defender is a youth product of Polish club Lech Poznan and signs directly after his participation in the U-21 European Championships in his home country. His involvement in that competition means he will take extra time off and join his teammates for preseason later in July.

Bednarek provides needed depth at center-back for the Saints, who stand to potentially lose Virgil Van Dijk this summer. Even if van Dijk stays, defensive replacements were a must for the club this window.

Watford has also done some business Saturday morning, bagging 26-year-old right-back Kiko Femenia and young Austrian goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann.

Femenia signs from Alaves in his home country of Spain, and will compete with Daryl Janmaat and Jose Holebas for time on the edge of defense. Femenia was a starter last season for Alaves and made 31 La Liga starts en route to a 9th-placed finish for the club. The Spaniard previously saw time at both Real Madrid and Barcelona but never cracked through from the reserve squad.

22-year-old Bachmann moves from Stoke City where he progressed through the youth ranks and spent several trips out on loan but never found his way into the first team. In the last two years Bachmann saw time at Wrexham, Bury FC, and Scottish club Ross County. Goalkeeper isn’t exactly a position of need for Watford, with Costel Pantillimon and Huerelho Gomes both providing stability between the sticks, but the Hornets may have seen potential in a player not otherwise finding his way onto the Premier League pitch.