Tag Archives: Southampton news

No. 3 – Southampton Midfielder Named 3rd Best Premier League Signing

We’ve been asking the fans who they think have been the best signings of the summer. This is your list and this, is your number 3. 

The Premier League world watched in awe as new Southampton signing, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, delivered an eloquent riposte to why the Saints’ lost 2-0 at the hands of Manchester United last month. You may be less surprised with the midfielder’s articulation if you were to know his relationship with current Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, whose path he crossed during his Bayern Munich days.

As Guardiola walked into his adventure in German football, he had been alerted by the presence of a player labelled as the Danish ‘Talent of the Year’, aged just 17. That player was Højbjerg, a midfielder who had been scouted extensively under the orders of the then new Bayern Munich manager and fast-tracked to the first team shortly after. Guardiola’s relationship with the youngster was described as obsessive, creating hope of uncovering a new Sérgio Busquets, just as the Catalan had done at Barcelona.

Bayern Munich’s depth, boasting names like Toni Kroos, Xabi Alonso, Thiago Alcântara, Bastian Schweinsteiger and more within their ranks, limited Højbjerg’s first-team opportunities, however, with the midfielder racking up just 218 minutes of football in the 2013/14 season, just 63 more than he’s already amassed as a Southampton player this season.

The Denmark international was loaned out midway through the following season, as he helped guide an Augsburg side to Europa League qualification, but his follow-up loan spell at FC Schalke wasn’t to be so successful, finishing fifth, outside the club’s goal of a Champions League qualifying spot.

Upon his return to the Bavarians, it was agreed that his career was in need of a fresh start, as the 20-year-old chose Southampton, lauded for the nurturing of young talent, to help fulfil his potential in a £13 million move to the St. Mary’s Stadium.

As his comparisons to Busquets suggest, Højbjerg is capable of playing at the base of midfield and succeed the departing Victor Wanyama, meanwhile he also has the physicality and technical ability to play further afield.

The numbers of average tackles made by the former Bayern Munich man stand very close to Wanyama’s, with the latter succeeding every 36.2 minutes versus Højbjerg’s 38.6-minute interval at Schalke last season. Southampton’s new signing also leads the way against those still at the club in interceptions made in league competitions last season, averaging 3.65 per game to Jordy Clasie’s club best of 3.22.

Furthermore, none of the aforementioned players come close to Højbjerg’s control on the ball, who completed on average 47.63 successful passes with an 88% pass accuracy, some way off the most well-rounded register from Oriol Romeu, who did so with 38.67 passes made and a success rate of 85%.

There’s more to come from Højbjerg, who contributed just once to a goal via an assist in his 23 Bundesliga appearances for Schalke. But, as mentioned previously, the midfielder is also still 20-years-old and the heartbreak and experience gained since the age of 17 could serve him well for the season ahead, as his refreshing maturity exemplified a few weeks ago following the Man United game.

Overall, it seems as though Southampton have done their homework very well, once more. Among the relentless cash burning of the Premier League, soaring to £1.6 billion in spending this summer, Southampton have managed to bag a very promising, yet weathered star for just £12.75 million. Højbjerg now has somewhere to settle, grow and, potentially, become yet another Saints player to one day leave for a huge profit.

No. 7 – Incredible Southampton Signing Named 7th Best Of Premier League Splurge

We’ve been asking the fans who they think have been the best signings of the summer. This is your list and this, is your number 7. 

He might have been voted as number 7 in this list, but for me, Boufal could turn out to be the signing of the summer. At £16million he offers incredible value in this market. He is just 22 but has the potential to go all the way, following in Eden Hazard’s footsteps of leaving Lille for the Premier League. Southampton have once again made a shrewd move in the market to seal this deal and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bigger club (once again) come knocking next summer.

It’s a credit to Southampton that beyond the raids set on their team during the transfer window by Liverpool and co., they’ve still managed reformulate their side and hit all the targets expected of them. The challenge could be a little trickier this time, however, with the new Everton boss, Ronald Koeman, swapping the south coast for Merseyside. Claude Puel has come in as his successor, but despite the change at the St. Mary’s hot seat, the traditions of the transfer market have continued.

Liverpool wasted no time in swarming the Saints once more, this time signing star man Sadio Mané for a £35 million fee. In response, Southampton landed Nathan Redmond from Norwich City for £11.5 million, but Puel, meanwhile realising the English winger is not quite up to the standards set by the new Reds man, sees the winger as more of a forward.

Via tactical preferences, a void out wide was opened once more, but the Europa League hopefuls have moved meticulously to get that gap filled in. With a couple of days to go until the transfer window’s closure, Southampton managed to land the signing of Lille winger Sofiane Boufal for £16 million, pinning the Moroccan international to a five-year-deal.

The 22-year-old, who joined Lille from Ligue 2 club SCO Angers in January 2015, scored 14 goals and contributed to a further 10 through assists during his time in Ligue 1. The only midfielder to outscore Boufal was ex-Newcastle United outcast Hatem Ben Arfa, coincidentally under the command of Puel at OGC Nice.

Typically, due to his tricky nature and footballing background, Boufal has drawn comparisons to the likes of Chelsea and ex-Lille star Eden Hazard, as well as the 2016 PFA Player of the Year, Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez. Hazard himself was picked up as a 16-year-old by Puel, so the Frenchman has set a precedent with regards to spotting a quality wide man.

The winger’s arrival gives the Saints to chance to revert back to a more familiar looking 4-2-3-1, with results proving hard to come by so far this season under a diamond midfield. Boufal can play in all of the three attacking midfield positions, providing flexibility; meanwhile his statistical numbers for last season also mix well with those registered by Southampton’s Dušan Tadić, Redmond and the departed Mané.

Of the aforementioned options, only Tadić (71) created more chances than Boufal in the league last season, whereas it was the £16 million man who came up with the most key passes (65). The Moroccan’s shot accuracy also proved superior, as only Mané could match the 11 league goals scored in the last campaign.

Such stats will be a welcome addition to a Southampton side that have fallen on 53 attempts at goal so far this season – bettered only by Liverpool’s 55 – scoring twice. The hope is now that Boufal, initially representing a nice coup for the Saints, can help to translate such figures into three points consistently for Puel’s side and, who knows, follow in the footsteps of some of the Premier League’s most lauded French-based imports.

Man Utd, Stoke and Southampton ‘Make Offers’ To Sign French Midfielder

Three Premier League clubs are all in contact to sign an in-demand Ligue 1 midfielder. The three clubs in question, according to reports appear to be Manchester United, Stoke and Southampton. 

The three clubs are chasing Bordeaux midfielder Adam Ounas according to RMC Sport. The 19-year-old scored 5 goals and made 2 assists in 23 appearances.

All three clubs have reportedly made a €10million offer for Ounas, but Bordeaux are unlikely to accept such an amount.

Ounas is an attacking midfielder with plenty of potential and he is not only attracting interest from England. Bordeaux’s poor season will have done little to try and convince him to stay in France and so the Premier League interest will certainly be appealing to the youngster.

He can play on either wing or as a number 10, but Ounas has been most successful playing on the right wing. His dribbling is described as his strongest attribute by WhoScored whilst he is also described as having a quality long shot.

We did a bit more research to find out the type of player Ounas is and more of his strengths and weaknesses. It seems Ounas is your typical young winger; plenty of flair, pace and technique, but perhaps a little lightweight. With a low centre of gravity and being two-footed, Ounas is a nightmare for defenders and very hard to tackle when he is in full flow. He struggles to hold onto the ball when under pressure due to a lack of strength and perhaps composure and can often, like many young players, try to overdo it. He certainly has raw talent but still looks to be a way off the pace before he is ready to play regularly in the Premier League.

One area where he appears to have already matured is with his off the ball movement. He gets himself into good positions and is also capable of coming inside to help the midfield battle.

There are concerns over his attitude which have caused him problems previously, although that can go either way as a player matures.

Ounas has represented France at under-20 level on two occasions and we will now see which club tickles his fancy with plenty of offers available to him.

Report: Leicester Open Talks With Southampton For £18million Transfer

Leicester City want to sign Southampton’s powerhouse Victor Wanyama as fears grow that that French midfielder N’Golo Kante will look for a move away this summer.

According to the Daily Mail Leicester City have made initial enquiries for 24-year-old Victor Wanyama as they brace themselves for the departure of Kante.

Wanyama has been seen as the ideal replacement for Kante, with the Foxes ace being chased by European giants PSG who are joined by Arsenal and Chelsea who are also interested is his services.

Since the end of the season their has been intense rumours surrounding Kante and where his future lies. Kante suggested last week he is in no hurry to decide on his future and that he is happy at Leicester City despite the rumoured transfer speculation, Kante said “It will be great to play in the Champions League, I will decide my future after the Euros” so a move away could be earned to a huge club like PSG should he perform well this summer.

Wanyama, who has been at the heart of Southampton’s rise in recent seasons had another good season for the Saints, we look at how he compares with N’Golo Kante who made the Barclays Premier League team of the year. Kante who was phenomenal in Leicester’s title win managed 3.72 tackles per 90 minutes which shows just why everyone is raving about him. Wanyama has also been in good form for the Saints but is behind Kante on 2.56. Wanyama stands at 6ft 2′ and shows his physical dominance winning 2.31 aerial duels which is superior to Kante, with a height of 5ft 6′ and managing just 1.13. Both players score high, but not perfect on pass completion (82%). Kante has been widely known for his interceptions on the pitch this season and his midfield engine which ticks over for the full 90 minutes. Kante must be a nightmare for opposition as he is everywhere on the pitch, he averaged 4.64 interceptions which puts him far ahead of Wanyama who managed 2.45.

Wanyama will be a good replacement if Kante is to leave the Champions. The tough tackling powerhouse has only one year left on his contract with Southampton and has no intention of signing a new contract at St Mary’s.

Leicester City can offer Wanyama Champions League football, something the player craves, but there is a worry for the Foxes. Long-term admirers Tottenham Hotspur are almost certain to make a move for the Kenyan international as they can also offer him Champions League football.

Leicester fans will certainly want the club to hold onto Kante next season but it does seem unlikely, Leicester will certainly have to move quick in their pursuit for Wanyama with former boss Mauricio Pochettino interested in a reunion with the player he signed for the Saints.

Gossip: Man City To Seal €50m Deal, Liverpool To Sell Coutinho & Southampton Close In On Signing

The transfer window is now kicking into gear with a couple of completed deals already, Fresh Football will bring you all the gossip and breaking news throughout the busy summer period. We take a look at some rumours that are flying about this afternoon.

Calum Chambers heading back to Southampton (Daily Mirror)

According to the Daily Mirror Calum Chambers is on Southampton’s radar this summer with the club looking to sign the defender on a one-year loan deal. It is being reported Arsene Wenger has been very reluctant to send out his versatile defender, but after rebuffing previous attempts from The Saints to bring their academy product back to St Marys’s, Wenger now feels Chambers needs game time in order to fulfil his potential and take the next step of his career.

21-year-old Chambers showed his defensive abilities recently helping England secure their first Toulon Tournament title since 1994 and more noticeably being picked for the “team of the tournament”.

Wenger is only likely to sanction a move for Chambers this summer if Arsenal sign a senior defender with Medhi Benatia and Kalidou Koulibaly both reported targets for the Gunners.
Chambers, who joined Arsenal for £16 million in 2014, has only played 35 games for the Gunners scoring one goal. The Saints will be very keen on Chambers and his versatility to play right-back, centre-back and even as a holding midfielder.

Arsene has claimed many times he sees his future as a centre-half and now want’s the young defender to gain much-needed experience. Chambers, who is a ball playing defender, is seen as a long-term replacement for Mertesacker, although he has only managed 12 games this season his tackle’s won ratio is incredible managing 2.09 per 90 minutes compared to Mertesacker who managed just 1.06. Standing at 6ft tall Chambers also impresses with aerial duels won after winning 3.39 which is one again more superior to Mertesacker’s score of 2.29. Although Chambers has hardly played his defence score is sublime, scoring a total 22.25 which one again put his ahead of team mate Mertesacker who managed just 14.68.

Arsene sees Chambers long-term future at Arsenal, but without guaranteed minutes Chambers will need a loan move to hopefully fulfil his bright potential.

Laporte set to complete €50million Manchester City switch (Guardian)

According to The Guardian Manchester City are ready to pay the €50m (£39m) release clause in order to sign Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao.

Pep Guardiola sees central defence as a priority for City this summer and they are prepared to spend big on Laporte in order to get their man, the French International is just 22-years old and already thought of as one of the best young central defenders in Europe.

Laporte has been ruled out until August with a broken leg and dislocated ankle and will miss the Euro’s with France this summer, but this has not put City off the prospect of signing him.

Laporte has already played over 120 games in La Liga and his impressive defensive abilities have caught the eye of most teams around Europe most noticeably Barcelona, but it is now likely Manchester City will pursue their interest in Laporte and land their man.

Manchester City are still trying to strengthen their defence with question marks constantly raised over club captain Vincent Kompanys long term fitness issues.

Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi have both been brought in by City to toughen up their defence but it hasn’t gone as well as they hoped and both players have failed to really nail down a position. Laporte will be brought in as a hopeful starter for City and if Kompany can stay fit that will likely be the partnership, with Mangala and Otamendi’s futures at the club in doubt.

The likelihood is Laporte will partner Kompany in central defence so we take a look at how the two have compared this season. Something that will impress City is the amount of tackles Laporte has won, manging 1.47 per 90 minutes. His opponent Kompany is not too far behind with 1.06. Aerial duels are a real factor to being a great defender, especially in a tough league. Kompany, who stands over 6ft show’s why he is thought of so highly, winning 85.37% of his aerial duels. Laporte, although he hasn’t won as much as Kompany still shows his aerial presence winning 69.86%. Kompany has been one of the most impressive defenders to grace the Premier League in recent seasons managing to win 58.82% of his total duels which just beats the impressive Laporte (54.19%).

Manchester City look destined to sign their long term target after beating off interested from European giants, the fee being paid will of course raise expectation but Laporte looks destined to fulfil his potential.

 

Philippe Coutinho wanted in Paris (Liverpool Echo)

According to the Liverpool Echo French Champions PSG are very interested in signing Brazilian ace Philippe Coutinho this summer. Coutinho has once again had an impressive season for Liverpool and more noticeably since Jurgen Klopp’s arrival and has caught the eye of PSG with the club ready to pursue their interest this summer.

It is understood PSG have already sounded out Coutinho’s representatives about swapping life in England for France and it is believed Liverpool are also aware of their interest in the 23-year old.

No official approach has been made for Coutinho, but it is certain he is on PSG’s radar this summer as they look to strengthen their squad to compete more fiercely for the Champions League.

Coutinho signed a five-year contract with Liverpool in February 2015 and it is understood Liverpool will fight to keep their playmaker and rebuff any attempts from clubs to sign him. Coutinho has been influential for Jurgen Klopp in the second half of the season and the player himself has found some excellent form with the manager clearly desperate to keep hold of him. The lack of any European football whatsoever at Liverpool next season will make it hard for Klopp to convince the player to stay, especially with the likes of PSG interested.

PSG ace Angel Di Maria has thrived since his arrival in France, after a disappointing spell at Manchester United. Coutinho would certainly be brought in to link up with the delightful attacker. Di Maria has had a sublime season and has been a key player in PSG’s title dominance. He has contributed with 0.81 assists per 90 minutes which is far better than Liverpool’s Coutinho who has managed just 0.23. Di María also comes out on top with chances created with 4.15 which is brilliant; Di María has been one of the most influential wingers/playmaker in Europe this season, Coutinho who has shone in the Premier League has managed just 2.21. The bonus with both of these players is they don’t just help create chances or assists. They also contribute with goals: Di María swoops a clean house once again coming out on top to Coutinho after managing 0.42 goals per 90 minutes which is slightly better than Coutinho who manages 0.36.

Coutinho may not yet be at the level of Di Maria but he is still a top quality player and aged just 23, has time to improve further.

If PSG are to sign Coutinho this summer they will certainly have a fight on their hands, with long-term admirers Manchester City still keen on the midfielder if he was to become available.

 

Southampton ‘Enter Talks’ To Sign Two Players, Including Arsenal Defender

Southampton are kicking off their transfer activity this summer with two deal lined up, including a move for an Arsenal defender looking for more game time. 

The first player Southampton have entered talks to sign is Arsenal’s Calum Chambers, on a loan deal. Chambers previously played for Southampton but joined the Gunners in a £14million deal in 2014. Since then he has shown glimpses of quality but his first team exposure has been limited. Now Arsene Wenger is reportedly planning to sign another central defender this summer and that would leave Chambers as 5th choice, should all the remaining defenders stay at the club.

The 21-year-old has quality and was recently named in the Toulon team of the tournament following his success with the England under-21’s. There is increasing concern over the form of Jose Fonte and Chambers could replace or rotate with him next season. The presence of European football makes the need for another central defender more pressing. That makes Chambers’ versatility all the more appealing, a player who has experience as a central defender, right back and defensive midfielder would be very useful for squad purposes although Arsenal are likely to seek first team assurances should they loan him to Southampton.

That may also explain the interest in Sporting Lisbon’s Ruben Semedo, who Southampton are reportedly planning a £12million bid for. Like Chambers, Semedo can play as a central defender or as a defensive midfielder. He’s also young (22) and Southampton are reportedly looking to sign him permanently. Whilst Arsenal are willing to loan Chambers, Sporting Lisbon are unlikely to sanction the sale of Semedo this summer, and they have no reason too. The Portuguese youngster signed a six-year contract earlier this season which included a £35million release clause. It is often the case that Portuguese clubs point to the players release clauses when suitors come knocking, but in this case Southampton won’t be interested at anywhere near that price.

Sporting managed to win 13 of 14 games since Semedo returned from loan and broke into the starting line-up. Unlike Chambers who has been capped 3 times for England, Semedo is yet to receive a senior international cap, although one is likely to arrive in the near future should he continue his current form into next season.

It may be a case of if Ronald Koeman can’t sign Semedo they will turn to the easier option of loaning Chambers, who is being actively offered to Premier League clubs for a loan deal by Arsenal. The benefits of loaning Chambers is he knows the league, the country and the club well. Signing Semedo on the other hand is likely to have more long-term benefits, as any deal is likely to be permanent.

Any new signings will have to most likely wait until Koeman’s future is cleared up, with Everton still hoping to convince him to join Goodison Park.