London [UK], June 18 (ANI): Southampton Football Club on Friday announced the signing of goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu from Premier League champions Manchester City.
The 20-year-old, who already has 10 caps for Ireland, moves to St Mary’s on a five-year deal, becoming the club’s first new recruit of the summer.
Signed by the Premier League champions as a 16-year-old following an outstanding start to his fledgling career at Shamrock Rovers, Bazunu has gained valuable experience out on loan in League One.
Ireland’s youngest ever goalkeeper, making his senior debut just one month after turning 19, Bazunu is already a regular starter for his country.
Gavin Bazunu said: “I’m delighted to be here. It’s been in the works for a few weeks and I’m really happy that we’ve got everything over the line, and I’m just excited to see what’s ahead.”
“I feel like it’s a place I can come and develop and learn my game. The biggest thing is opportunity – the fact that I can come here and have a chance to play regular football. Just to be given that opportunity to fight for my place is the biggest thing that I could’ve asked for.”
Starring for City’s Under-18 side before graduating to the Elite Development Squad, Bazunu gained further experience in Premier League 2 and the UEFA Youth League, also travelling with the first team for their pre-season tour of Asia in 2019.
The first of two loan moves in League One took him to Rochdale in 2020/21, where he made 32 appearances and became his country’s youngest-ever goalkeeper, making his senior debut just one month after his 19th birthday.
Already into double figures for caps despite a rib injury keeping him out of the recent batch of Nations League matches, Bazunu accelerated his progress with an outstanding loan spell at Portsmouth, where he was voted Player of the Year by his teammates and the club’s supporters.
He kept 16 clean sheets in 44 League One outings at Fratton Park, the third highest in the division – a tally made all the more impressive by his side’s faltering promotion push as Pompey finished 10th, ten points adrift of the play-off places.
The highlights of his fledgling international career include a penalty save from Cristiano Ronaldo in a World Cup qualifier last September, and a clean sheet against Portugal’s star-studded attack two months later. (ANI)