Monday, November 28, 2022

Southampton Eyeing Shock Bid For 30 Y/O Wantaway: Huge Statement Of Intent Despite Relegation Scrap?

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

Liverpool were in disarray when Jurgen Klopp took over from Brendan Rodgers back in 2015 and reconstructed the squad slowly but steadily with his preferred options. The Reds have successfully secured a Champions League berth last season following a fourth-placed Premier League finish and are going strong in the competition this year along with a decent league outing.

The charismatic German gaffer has reinvested in several slots, like defence, attack and also between the sticks by bringing in Loris Karius in summer 2016 with a view to providing competition to Simon Mignolet who featured as club’s ‘number 1’ since joining from Sunderland back in 2013.

Mignolet was brought in by the then boss Brendan Rodgers and became an instant hero by saving Jonathan Walters spot-kick in the opening fixture of the season against Stoke City. He, however, received stern criticism due to inconsistency and was replaced by Brad Jones and Adam Bogdan at times in his tenure. Neither Jones nor Bogdan was good enough either and Klopp opted to bring in Karius who had a huge reputation in Germany with Bundesliga side FSV Mainz 05.

Karius too was handed a run of games last season due to Mignolet’s unconvincing displays but failed to earn manager’s trust following some erroneous outings. The Belgian was restored between the sticks and ended the season on a high note securing a ‘top four’ finish.

The 30-year-old custodian, meanwhile, has been rotated with Karius since the inception of the new season and has now lost his first-team status completely due to the German’s recent run of form. Mignolet has opened up about his discontent time and again as he wants to feature regularly at this stage of his career.

If the latest reports are believed to be true, Southampton has joined the host of clubs chasing the signing of the veteran Belgian who is open to a summer move to meet his career objectives. He has now slipped down the pecking orders at Merseyside and Klopp’s decision of fielding Karius in the return leg tie against FC Porto indicated the same. The outing was a mere formality as the Reds won the first leg 5-0 away from home but the gaffer opted to keep him among his substitutes. 

Southampton, who have been raided by Liverpool persistently, must grab the opportunity now upon his availability in summer. The Saints are currently in the drop zone and has brought in ex-Stoke City boss Mark Hughes’ following the dismissal of Mauricio Pellegrino who came with huge managerial reputation following an amazing 2016-17 campaign with La Liga side Deportivo Alaves.

Southampton have got a custodian conundrum due to the dismal form of Fraser Forster who has now been benched and replaced by Alex McCarthy between the sticks. Mignolet thus will straight slot in the first-team to secure club’s ‘number 1’ spot banking on his profound Premier League experience with Sunderland and Liverpool. The task, however, won’t be easy for the Saints as they will face stern competition from league counterparts as well as abroad for the keeper and must ensure a stay in the Premier League to increase the odds.

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