Forget Full Backs It's A Central Defender We Need !
Friday, 10th Jan 2020 11:16
Ralph Hasenhuttl has indicated his main priority is a full back in the January transfer window, but most Saints fans would not agree, is the Austrian putting up a smokescreen though ?
Ralph Hasenhuttl spoke on Thursday and suggested that his main priority in the January transfer window was a full back with Tottenham's Kyle Walker Peters being touted on social media as our main target.
"We are in the market and we are looking for, especially, full-backs because we know that we have not that many options at the moment.
There are a few guys available – it can also be a loan option in the summer. I don’t want to comment any names but you can be sure we have a full list of what is interesting to us."
Hasenhuttl is not quite correct in saying that we do not have many options, what he perhaps means though is that we do not have too many options that he trusts.
At right back Cedric is currently holding the spot and playing well, although it is well documented that he will leave at the end of the season, Jan Valery last season looked the perfect replacement, but this season has barely featured with unexplained illness's and injuries being given as a vague excuse, something that suggests that the problem is not a physical issue but something else.
At Left back Ryan Bertrand has started to find his form again after looking indifferent at the start of the season and Jake Vokins looked a reasonable replacement if a bit raw, but that didn't stop Valery last season.
There are also the options of playing other players there in an emergency, Kevin Danso although a central defender has played at both left & right back in the few occasions he has been picked and can do a job there even if he is not the ideal option.
Likewise others have filled in notable James Ward Prowse at right back and Pierre Emile Hojbjerg at Left back, again not ideal, but we are looking at 3rd choice options in an emergency for both or at least we should be.
But we can cope at full back and the situation is one we can address in the summer after Cedric has left, it is something that we would assess if the right player became available, but it is not our main priority.
So the burning issue is not full backs but central defenders as it has been all season and indeed for three years now.
In recent weeks Jan Bednarek and Jack Stephens have played well, but long term they are not ideal and if we have no cover at full back, we definitely have no cover for these two at the moment should one or the other get injured or suspended.
Against Huddersfield Yoshida & Vestergaard showed they are not the answer and as we saw in that game the manager will not play Danso in that position unless he is down to pulling people out of the street to play.
So is Ralph Hasenhuttl serious or is he trying to put a smokescreen up to distract our rivals in the transfer market from our true intentions.
My money is (hopefully) on this, the Austrian is fond of smokescreen tactics, often saying a player is unfit when it is the opposite and a couple of days later he starts, so it would be normal for him to do the same when talking about transfers.
Football club's do not announce their potential transfer targets, well not unless they are Manchester City, Liverpool, Real Madrid & Barcelona when they know they can outbid everyone else.
No most clubs keep their cards close to their chest so they can get in under the radar, firstly to steal a march on their rivals, secondly to make sure they don't get involved in a Dutch auction that pushes up the price and lastly to get deals done swiftly and without fuss.
So Hasenhuttl coming out and saying a full back is our priority seems to suggest that this is a stalking horse, we will now be linked with every full back in Europe whilst we concentrate on the players we want.
Deals are done by agents these days, Saints will be speaking to their preferred targets, our revival has brought us a bit of breathing space in the League and this increases our attraction to potential recruits and we can hopefully get a central defender in quietly.
At least I hope this is the case, to be blunt our central defence has been our problem for three years now due to poor recruitment, lack of recruitment and a reliance on players at the club who may be good club men but are not good enough at the level we aspire to .
So hopefully Ralph Hasenhuttl is saying one thing, but is focusing on another !
Photo: Action Images
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