Nathan Tella transfer saga finally comes to an end as ex-Burnley loan star joins German side
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The Clarets had explored bringing the 24-year-old back to Turf Moor on a permanent deal after the winger starred on loan in the Championship last season, scoring 19 times as Vincent Kompany’s men romped to the title.
But Burnley were priced out of a move this summer, while Leverkusen were prepared to pay a reported £20m fee to secure his services.
"Many younger players from the Premier League got a chance in the Bundesliga and were able to improve significantly here," Tella told Leverkusen's website.
"This is an impressive team who made it to the semi-finals of the Europa League last season. I really want to continue on this path with Bayer 04."
Leverkusen, managed by former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso, finished sixth in the Bundesliga last season and have won both of their opening league games so far this term.
Tella spent six years with the Saints after joining the academy from Arsenal as a 17-year-old.
He featured three times in the Championship this season, scoring once, but was left out of Russell Martin’s side during Saturday's 2-1 win over QPR.
Writing in a goodbye message to Southampton fans, Tella said: “A massive thank you to the fans. The love and support I received off of all of you will remain in my heart forever.
“I know my performances haven’t always been great, but you still supported me throughout all of it.
“I felt proud being able to walk out at St Mary’s and having the opportunity to represent this amazing club.
“I wish everyone associated with the club nothing but the best. I’m sure the club will get back to where they belong.”
Addressing Burnley’s interest in last season’s loanees Tella and Ian Maatsen ahead of the opening game of the season, Kompany said: “The reality is they used to be our players, but they’re not our players at the moment.
“You’re in that conflicted situation because I know those players really well. The moments we had together were very good experiences.
“At the moment they’re not our players, so we have to respect the decision is not ours even if they’re very good players we like.”