Football: Wellington Phoenix goalkeeper Alex Paulsen sold to English Premier League club Bournemouth in record transfer  

Wellington Phoenix have made the biggest outgoing transfer in club history, selling goalkeeper Alex Paulsen to English Premier League club AFC Bournemouth. 

Newshub understands the deal is worth close to NZ$4 million, which eclipses Sarpreet Singh's move to German giants Bayern Munich in 2019. 

The deal comes after Paulsen's breakout campaign for the Phoenix - winning A-League Goalkeeper of the Year, Young Footballer of the Year and Fans' Player of the Year.   

Alex Paulsen in action for the Phoenix.
Alex Paulsen in action for the Phoenix. Photo credit: Getty Images

"I'm humbled to be considered worthy of signing with AFC Bournemouth in the premier league," Paulsen said. "It means the world to me, my family and to my friends to be offered an opportunity to play in the best league on the planet, which most aspiring young footballers only dream of.  

"Sarpreet, Libby Cacace and Ben Waine have laid the stepping stones for young New Zealand footballers like myself to dream big and be like 'the world is our oyster'."

Paulsen, 21, played every minute of Wellington's 2023/24 A-League campaign, after he was limited to just five first-team appearances in his first two years as a pro.  

He kept a club record 11 clean sheets in 27 league matches this season and also saved three penalties, denying Adam Taggart, Jamie Maclaren and Ulises Dávila from the spot. 

The Aucklander also started in goal for the A-League All Stars in their 8-0 demolition of Newcastle United last month. 

"I'm proud of the accomplishments I've achieved alongside the club in what was the Phoenix's most successful season.  

"Without the trust and belief from the club, my teammates and staff I don't think I would have been able to obtain and meet a lot of my personal objectives and goals.  

"However, I am my own worst critic and I am obsessed with wanting to improve, so I really want to use this season as a foundation to scale up and take it to another level." 

 Paulsen in action during the A-League Men Semi Final.
Paulsen in action during the A-League Men Semi Final. Photo credit: Getty Images

Phoenix head coach Giancarlo Italiano, who signed Paulsen to a three-year contract extension at the start of the 2023/24 A-Leauge season, is "stoked" for the goalkeeper.

"I'm really proud AP's scored such a big deal with such a big club in the world's best league," Italiano said. "It shows what we're building here at the Phoenix by helping a young player move to a premier league club.

"His move aligns perfectly with the club's transfer strategy. The goal from day one was playing the young guys, getting them in the shop window and giving them the ability to progress to the next level." 

AFC Bournemouth finished their most recent premier league campaign in 12th. The club is owned by US billionaire Bill Foley, who also owns the new Auckland-based A-League expansion club Auckland FC.