(Reuters) - Southampton have signed Uruguay defender Martin Caceres until the end of the season to help shore up a defence hit by injuries and departures, the Premier league club said on Thursday.
The 29-year-old, who has 68 caps, left Juventus after his contract expired last season when he made just six Serie A appearances, missing the final three months through injury.
Southampton were looking for a centre back in the January transfer window, with Virgil van Dijk injured and captain Jose Fonte leaving for West Ham United, but failed to land their targets and have now turned to ex-Barcelona stopper Caceres.
“Of all of the options that I had, I think that the best option for me was to come to Southampton. I am extremely happy to have joined this club,” Caceres said in a club statement.
He joined Juve in 2012, having spent a season on loan at the Italian giants in 2009-10 from Barca, who won the treble of Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey the previous season, although Caceres rarely featured in the first team.
The Uruguayan moved to Sevilla on loan and joined the club permanently in 2011 before leaving for a successful spell at Juventus, who won five Serie A titles, the Coppa Italia twice and were runners up in the 2015 Champions League final.
"In a tough situation for us, losing Virgil (van Dijk) to injury, he (Caceres) will bring experience, talent and character," said Saints executive director of football Les Reed.
Van Dijk suffered an ankle injury against Leicester City on Jan. 22 and could be sidelined for the rest of the season.
(Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Toby Davis)