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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 June, 2004, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Saints land van Damme
Southampton new signing Jelle van Damme
Van Damme is the club's first summer capture
Southampton have completed the signing of Belgian international defender Jelle van Damme from Ajax.

The Saints are believed to have paid around 2.5m for the 20-year-old left-back who stands at 6ft 4ins.

Van Damme has won seven Belgian caps and Saints chairman Rupert Lowe told his club's website: "He is a tough character and a good player.

"He fits the mould of the kind of players we like to sign, he has a fair amount of experience for his age."

Van Damme agreed personal terms on Tuesday and will challenge Graeme Le Saux for a first-team berth.

Although highly rated, van Damme was unable to force his way into the Ajax first team where he was kept out by Brazilian Maxwell.

Van Damme began his career with Beveren before moving to home town club Sporting Lokeren and then Germinal Beerschot Antwerp.

He initially joined Ajax on loan before signing permanently in March 2002.

He made his international debut against Croatia in March 2004.




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