Walsall have made their fifth signing of the summer by bringing in Southampton defender Jason McCarthy on loan for the first half of next season.
The 20-year old utility player, who can operate in midfield, spent last season at League Two side Wycombe Wanderers.
He has made one first team appearance for Southampton in 2014-15, when he also skippered the young Saints to the Under-21 Premier League title.
“I’ve been watching Jason for the last six months,” said boss Jon Whitney.
“Wycombe’s manager Gareth Ainsworth is a good friend of mine. He spoke really highly of him as a player and a person. He’s a committed defender. Southampton think really highly of him.”
Since being appointed manager on 1 June, Whitney has brought in four midfielders, Kacy Milan Butterfield, Peterborough United’s Erhun Oztumer, Sheffield United’s Florent Cuvelier and Colchester United’s Joe Edwards.
The loan deal with Southampton will run until January 2017.
Summer departures from Bescot
Since the end of last season, Walsall have lost of right-back Jason Demetriou, centre-half Paul Downing, winger Milan Lalkvovic and midfield link man Romaine Sawyers, who all turned down offers from the club.
Demteriou has since signed for Southend, while Downing has joined MK Dons, Lalkovic is to go to Portsmouth and Sawyers remains linked with former Saddlers boss Dean Smith at Championship side Brentford.
The Saddlers remain in negotiations with winger Anthony Forde, while they are still to determine the future of midfielder Sam Mantom, striker Jordan Cook and left-back Andy Taylor.
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