Southampton Leading Chase To Sign This Full-Back: What Will He Add To Hasenhüttl’s Side?

Genk's Joakim Maehle (L) vies for the ball with Malmo's Soren Rieks during the UEFA Europa League Group I first-leg football match between KRC Genk and Malmo FF on September 20, 2018, in Genk. (Photo by YORICK JANSENS / Belga / AFP/Getty Images)

According to a recent report by TuttoBolognaWeb, Southampton are leading the pack in pursuit of KRC Genk defender Joakim Maehle. It is believed that the Saints have jumped ahead of the queue and are currently the favourites to land the Danish right-back during the summer transfer window (via TuttoBolognaWeb).

Maehle’s Rapid Rise In Belgian Football

The 22-year-old has enjoyed a solid season in the Jupiler Pro League after putting in a series of eye-catching performances for Hannes Wolf’s side so far. He has featured in 33 matches for the Belgian giants this term, scoring one goal and providing four assists in all competitions which goes to show that he can contribute going forward by scoring or creating the odd goal occasionally.

Maehle has averaged 3.3 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 1.7 clearances per 90 minutes in the six UEFA Champions League matches he has taken part this season (stats via whoscored). The Ostervra-born talent’s excellent run of form in Europe has not gone unnoticed with the Saints now in pole position to secure his services this summer.

The Aalborg BK academy graduate has represented Denmark at various youth levels but is yet to secure his first senior cap for his nation. If Maehle can maintain his current form next season, then he could get a chance to feature for his country in the UEFA European Championship which has been rescheduled to kick off in the summer of 2021 due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

What Will The Denmark Under-21 International Add To Hasenhüttl’s Side?

Maehle has electric pace and a tireless work ethic to cause a lot of headaches for the opposition down the right flank. He is not afraid to put his head down and take on his marker to try and get to the by-line. The Danish prospect is also a reliable defender inside his own half and can make some vital interceptions for his team. He has averaged nearly two clearances in every European game he has featured this season which highlights his growing influence in the Genk first-team.

The Saints currently have Kyle Walker-Peters operating as their first-choice right-back with Yan Valery providing cover for that position. Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhüttl has also used Jame Ward-Prowse as a makeshift right-back in recent months. However, it is worth noting that Walker-Peters is currently playing on loan from Tottenham Hotspur and the South-coast club doesn’t have the option to sign him permanently this summer.

Hence, Hasenhüttl is in dire need of bringing in a new right-back in the off-season so that he has a strong squad capable of competing across all competitions in the upcoming campaign. Maehle will a decent signing for Southampton as he has the potential to become a proper player in his position someday. Furthermore, he will add another dimension to the Saints attack and will also be a capable presence at the back for them as well. He will also allow the Premier League club to play with more attacking intent down the right side which could see them score more goals in the coming years.

A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.