Claude Puel has a big task on his hands to emulate the success his predecessors Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman had at the South Coast club. Big departures like Mane, Wanyama and Pelle have followed the former manager Koeman from the St. Mary’s despite Southampton getting their best ever Premier League finish last season.
Southampton have snapped up the signatures of Alex McCarthy, Jeremy Pied, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Nathan Redmond so far this summer but with Europa League football this season, they still lack the extra bit of quality needed to impress in the Premier League and the Europa League at the same time. However, Puel is looking active in the market to add the missing links to his squad.
According to The Daily Star, Southampton have failed with a £6.8m move to sign Dinamo Zagreb’s young midfielder Marko Rog but they are desperate to go back in the Croatian’s pursuit with an improved offer. The 21-year-old has four years left on his contract with the Croatian giants and a player of his calibre would be a bargain even for the fee of £12.8m as Dinamo reportedly want.
Rog is primarily a central midfield player but can also be used as an attacking midfielder or even as a winger. Since his move to Dinamo Zagreb from RNK Split last summer, the Croatian mostly plied his trade as a number ten or as a left winger. The 21-year-old started the current season on a high already scoring four goals and providing 2 assists from eight games across all competitions.
Claude Puel, during his time at Lyon and Nice previously, had his success playing in a 4-4-2 diamond formation and from what it looks from the Saints’ pre-season, the Frenchman is looking to do the same with the Saints. To have an effective midfield diamond, you need to have quality central midfielders who can also play out wide providing the tactical flexibility.
Rog fits the bill perfectly and can become a key player at Southampton under Puel. Physically well-built, technically sound, versatile and a good eye for both goals and assists- Rog can be a great success story on his move to the South Coast of England. The Daily Star claims that there is no lack of cash-rich suitors for the Croatian international and the Saints have to make an improved offer quickly or else they will have to regret later.