ALBION have today completed the signing of Belgium international defender Sébastien Pocognoli from Hannover 96 for an undisclosed fee.
The 26-year-old left-back has become the Baggies’ fourth summer signing. He penned a three-year deal, plus a year’s option in the club’s favour, after agreeing personal terms and passing a medical.
Pocognoli, who has 12 Belgium caps, narrowly missed out on a place in his country’s Brazil-bound World Cup squad after injury saw him miss the final six weeks of last season.
The 6ft player has top-flight experience in Belgium, Holland and Germany following spells with Genk, AZ Alkmaar, Standard Liege and Hannover.
In 2008/09, Pocognoli played a prominent role as Alkmaar – then managed by Holland boss Louis van Gaal – won the Dutch Eredivisie title.
Head coach Alan Irvine said: “Sébastien is an experienced left-back who has played at a high level for many years.
“After being named in Belgium’s provisional World Cup squad, he just missed out on Brazil, mainly because he hadn’t played enough games towards the end of the season.
“But he’s joined us with a real hunger to prove himself at Albion and get back into the international set-up.
“We’ve done our due diligence on Sébastien in terms of people who have worked with him, including Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas.
“You make your own mind up about a player’s ability from watching him play but you put these calls in to find out about their personality. The feedback on Sébastien was very positive.”
Pocognoli will meet his new team-mates for the first time when he reports for pre-season training on Monday.
Technical director Terry Burton added: “Sébastien is a player the club has been watching for a while and we’re delighted to have him on board.
“He’s a competitive left-back who knows his position very well.”
Pocognoli began his career at Standard Liege before joining Genk in 2003.
He was capped by his country at every youth level from under-16s upwards prior to making his full international debut against Italy in May 2008.
After four successive top-five finishes in the Belgian Jupiler League, he crossed the border to join Dutch outfit Alkmaar.
During the 2008/09 season, he made 27 appearances as AZ were crowned Dutch champions for only the second time in their history.
Pocognoli returned to Standard Liege in 2010 and, in his first full season back at Stade Maurice Dufrasne, he helped them to a domestic cup triumph and second-place finish.
He joined German outfit Hannover in January 2013 and made 30 Bundesliga appearances before joining the Baggies.