Tue, Sep

Trinidad and Tobago defender Kenwyne Jones has signed a pre contract with English Premiership side Southampton.

The news was revealed by Jones’ representative Louis Affor on Sunday evening. The former National Under 20 captain last night passed a medical and signed a pre-contract agreement to join the club as soon as the transfer window reopens in July, subject to the granting a work permit, according to Affor. The deal is reportedly worth two years.

The 19-year-old Jones was expected to arrive back in Trinidad on Sunday following a one-week trial at his new club.

Jones, attached to Vibe CT 105 W Connection, had been linked with Scottish Premier League side Rangers, West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur and Panathanaikos but Southampton won the race to sign the former St Anthony’s College player.

“It’s a big move for Kenwyne because he has signed for a Premiership team and he also had the chance to sign for other big clubs. This will be a tremendous opportunity for him and we hope all goes well from here,” Affor told TTFF Media. Affor also represents Silvio Spann who signed with Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb last week. “The door is opening more for footballers from Trinidad and Tobago and Kenwyne is certainly going to attract attention here as he follows in the footsteps of other Trinidad and Tobago players playing in Europe.”

Southampton chairman Rupert Lowe was delighted to have snapped up Jones saying “He is a tremendous athlete and the coaching staff believe they can turn him into a very good footballer. He has done well on trial so we have got him signed up quickly because a lot of other clubs wanted him. We have paid a fee to his club W Connection and we hope we have got ourselves a very good player. He is certainly not short on confidence!"

Southampton Jones are confident they will secure a work permit because of new regulations regarding the Commonwealth countries.

These will enable him to get a two-year student visa which will entitle him to work while he is here. By the end of that stint, Saints are confident he will have played in the 75 per cent of full internationals to make a full work permit pretty much a formality.

The Southampton website stated “Jones becomes Southampton's first player from Trinidad but follows fellow countrymen Dwight Yorke and Shaka Hislop into the Premiership. It is a relatively cheap gamble for a player of great potential and with proven athleticism.”