Sunday, August 14, 2022

Southampton Want This Serie A Man Mountain; A Good Swoop From Puel?

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Snehanjan Banerjee
Snehanjan used to a former columnist at The 4th Official. Fan of KK, Cricket and Liverpool (in no particular order).

Remarkable, astonishing, exemplary- all these adjectives are perfect fits for Southampton’s progress over the last four years in the Premier League. The Saints made their long-awaited comeback to the Premier League in 2012 and unlike every other promoted club, they never settled for just securing their Premier League status. Nigel Adkins, Mauricio Pochettino and of course Ronald Koeman have all played their parts in helping the Saints progressing slowly but surely and the big reward for that is a place in the Europa League this campaign.

Southampton will be looking to build on the foundation they have slowly built for themselves over the last few seasons. Claude Puel, the fourth manager of the South Coast club since 2012, will be eager to break into the top four next season as well as ensuring a good showing in the Europa League. The Saints have done decent business this summer by bringing in players like Nathan RedmondPierre-Emile HojbjergAlex McCarthy and Jeremy Pied but still some areas are in dire need for reinforcements.

One of the positions still craving for additions is at the heart of the Southampton defence. Skipper Jose Fonte made a formidable partnership with Virgil van Dijk last summer but the Saints should look for an upgrade over Florin Gardos and Maya Yoshida to cope up with the demands of Europa League and Premier League together.

GRONINGEN, NETHERLANDS - JULY 30: Head coach Claude Puel of Southampton looks on during the friendly match between FC Groningen an FC Southampton at Euroborg Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Groningen, Netherlands. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)
GRONINGEN, NETHERLANDS – JULY 30: Head coach Claude Puel of Southampton looks on during the friendly match between FC Groningen an FC Southampton at Euroborg Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Groningen, Netherlands. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)

According to reports from La Lazio Siamo Noi, the Saints are looking to go head to head with newly promoted Middlesbrough for the signature of Lazio defender Wesley Hoedt. The Dutchman’s move to Lazio last summer from AZ was possibly the transfer of Serie A of the season gone by. The 22-year-old was largely expected to be just a backup in Lazio defence consisting of players like Stefan De Vrij and Mauricio but the reality was far from it as Hoedt established himself as a squad regular.

Standing 6 ft 3 12 in tall, the Dutchman excels in the air and cannot be outpaced easily. Southampton, regardless of whichever manager they played under, have been a team that likes to dominate possession and that is unlikely to change with Puel. The 22-year-old, boasting an impressive 82.9% passing accuracy in Serie A last term, would be an ideal fit for the Saints.

Hoedt is a brilliant reader of the game which is evident from his 3.2 interceptions per game last season. The youngster, thanks to his tactical and technical strengths, does not need to do the dirty work much often. Getting the signature of the Dutchman would be a brilliant piece of business for Southampton on the long run and the Saints should be looking to splash the cash on this youngster without much ado.

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