A talented young goalkeeper, 20-year-old Gavin Bazunu arrives at Southampton with plenty of potential.
Despite his tender age, the shot-stopper already has 10 senior caps to his name for Republic of Ireland and 77 appearances in the EFL following loan moves to Rochdale and Portsmouth from Manchester City.
Born in Dublin, Bazunu started his career with Shamrock Rovers, making his senior debut at the age of 16 years and 109 days, thus becoming the club’s youngest ever player.
Remarkably, the teenager kept four clean sheets in his first four appearances, also saving a penalty along the way, before facing Swedish opponents AIK over two legs in Europa League qualifying.
His performances quickly alerted the attention of Premier League champions City, who completed his signing in February 2019.
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.