Southampton FC 2020/21 Season Review - The Right Back Spot
Tuesday, 1st Jun 2021 09:27
This time last year all the discussion was about the right back spot and whether Kyle Walker Peters would even return for the final part of his loan spell, this year it is all about the left back spot, but there are some interesting decisions to be made around the career of Yan Valery.
This time last year the season hadn't ended, in fact it hadn't even restarted and all the questions were being asked about the right back berth rather than as is the case this year the left.
Kyle Walker Peter had been overlooked before lockdown and it looked like he would not even return to St Mary's for the restart, but the rest as they say is history and KWP went on to be signed permanently and was a mainstay of this season, aside from when he was injured he would start 30 of the 38 games in the Premier League and would be undisputed first choice in the right back spot.
Kyle Walker Peters has been one of our best signings of recent years and we robbed Spurs at the price we got and if we consider that although Pierre Emile Hojbjerg wasn't directly a part of that deal it is easy to make comparisons, we got the best half of the two transactions, it will be interesting to see if Hojbjerg is still in the Spurs side next season, Spurs fan seem to be already rueing selling KWP.
If a review of Kyle Walker Peters season is fairly straightforward, then a review of Yan Valery's might take longer to write than he played.
Two years ago he looked set to make the right back spot his own after breaking into the team and starting 20 games in the Premier League plus 2 as sub in 2018/19 season, not to mention a couple of goals including a screamer at Old Trafford.
But overall you did think here was a talent who can once again flourish when fit.
But this season saw him struggle to even make the squad and it was not until January that he featured in the first team, an 8 minute cameo appearance at the end of the 1-0 win over Liverpool suggested that he might be back to fitness, as did a shorter appearance away to Leicester, indeed the full 90 minutes against Arsenal in the league, plus a full game in the FA Cup win over Shrewsbury gave hope that he might just be back in contention once he got back up to Premier League sharpness.
But It seems that despite his return he wasn't in Ralph's plans and he was shipped off to Birmingham City on loan where he has had a mixed time and that is putting it lightly, he started brightly enough but seemed to fall out of favour quickly and only completed 90 minutes twice, the final time being his last appearance at the club on 6th March barely a month after he arrived.
So the mystery still goes on about Yan Valery, why has his career seemed to nosedive so drastically in the past two years.
The big question is why he was sent out on loan when we had no specialised cover for KWP, it can only be two reasons, the first is that Saints like many other clubs were looking to slash costs and get players out on loan to save the wages, that is entirely plausible, we had a bolted on number 1 right back in KWP and several others who could fill in there, let Valery go on loan, get his mojo back and save some money along the way.
This seems to have only succeeded in terms of saving money.
The second reason is that for whatever reason and I can't believe it is entirely football related Ralph has lost patience with the young Frenchman.
So the question is will we try to sell Valery this summer or do we still, harbour hopes he can become the player he promised to be, I hope it is the latter as I think there is a good player in there somewhere and in these times of austerity we have to prioritise the transfer money we have and being blunt it will be cheaper to keep Valery as a back up than sign someone else.
So for next season it is clear who will be the number 1, but who will back him up, will it be Valery, will it be the likes of Jack Stephens or JWP or will we look to get someone in.
Photo: Action Images
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Letters from Wiltshire #48 by wessex_exile
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Letters from Wiltshire #47 by wessex_exile
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Letters from Wiltshire #46 by wessex_exile
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Letters from Wiltshire #45 by wessex_exile
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Letters from Wiltshire #44 by wessex_exile
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