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Should Southampton Sell Jannik Vestergaard This Summer
Friday, 4th Jun 2021 09:20

Although it seems that Tottenham Hotspur may have gone a little cold on Jannik Vestergaard after the departure of Jose Mourinho, Leicester City are still linked, but the latest rumour is if he leaves Saints then it could be abroad.

Saints have some big thinking to do about Jannik Vestergaard this summer, a year ago they were doing exactly the same, with a move linked for the Dane and his replacement already signed in Mohamed Salisu and now it seems we are back to square one again.

But this year Vestergaard is more marketable and has only a year left on his contract which means that Saints really have to make a decision one way or the other.

Last summer there were few Saints fans who would have shed a tear if Vestergaard had left, in two seasons he had started just 40 games, had dropped down the pecking order behind Jack Stephens and was hardly considered a good signing by most.

In the opening two games of 2020/21 he came on as a sub at Crystal Palace but remained on the bench at home to Tottenham Hotspur, although the horrors show at the back meant that for the third game a trip to Burnley he came into the side at the expense of Stephens.

Suddenly he looked a different player for some reason and thus started a purple patch where in 12 games he was not only strong defensively, but also on the attack where he suddenly found a range of cross field passing and also scored 3 times as Saints powered to the top four in the Premier league.

But the writing had been on the wall in the 8th of these games when we blew a two goal lead against Manchester United and lost 3-2 and then Vestergaard picked up an injury in the game against Manchester City that would keep him out of the side for 9 weeks.

When he came back he seemed to have lost the magical powers of his 12 game spell and reverted back to the player he had been for the previous two seasons, goals were being conceded left right and centre and the defence had no organisation.

This continued right up to the end of the season, sometimes we would get away with sloppy defending, but at other times we wouldn't and it seemed that it was mostly we wouldn't.

It is not just Vestergaard's fault, there are other factors and I think the main one is that he and Jan Bednarek are just not compatible as a central defensive pairing, both are in essence the player who wants to take first knock as we used to call it, ie one defender attacks the ball and marks the man whilst the other holds the back line and steps in to cover.

Too often neither Vestergaard or Bednarek would know who was meant to be doing what and we paid the price, in terms of Vestergaard he was seemingly the holding player, but the position was alien to him, too often we would see him caught out of position and his reading of the game was poor, there were far too many goals where he was caught in no mans land and neither marking or covering.

So we now have a player who in three seasons has played 69(3) games in the Premier League and scored 4 times, but virtually all of his good games have been squeezed into that 12 game spell last Autumn.

So what do we do, do we stick or sell,?

My view of the situation is this, Jannik Vestergaard is not a bad central defender he just needs to be in the right defence, in my opinion he is not as good as Jan Bednarek, so he is the one that we should cash in on.

His stock still remains high from his spell last season and therefore we have a chance of getting a decent portion of the £18 million we paid back in 2018, also we have to consider that a year ago we bought Mohamed Salisu to replace him.

Salisu is still learning, but in the games he played he showed that he is the type of player we need, he is a good reader of the game and he has speed in both the physical and mental sense that can get him out of trouble in terms of pace but also by seeing and dealing with a situation before it has time to develop, these are two attributes that Vestergaard lacks.

So Salisu would make the ideal partner for Jan Bednarek in all but one thing and that is leadership and experience, in many respects, Salisu reminds me of Virgil Van Dijk in his style, but when Van Dijk arrived at St Mary's at 24 he was very near to being the finished article, he had two seasons in the Eridivisie in Holland behind him, plus another two at Celtic where he had also played many games in the Champions League and the Europa League.

Salisu doesn't have that, he arrived aged 21 with just 30 games in La Liga to his name.

So personally I would like to see Saints cash in on Vestergaard and nurture the partnership between Bednarek and Salisu with Jack Stephens as back up, but I do think we would still lack something and that is experience and leadership, I would like us to bring in an old head in the centre of the back four who would be an influence both on and off the pitch.

There will be a few of those around this summer with contracts not being renewed , someone in the vein of ex Saints loanee Toby Alderweireld who turned 32 at the end of this season for instance, he has two years left on his contract at Spurs, but with the North London Soccer Chickens looking for younger blood at the back, he looks to be surplus to requirements, he would be ideal as someone who could bring stability and organisation to our defence, if not him there are plenty like him out there.

If Vestergaard was to stay I would not be unhappy, but I do think we would end up just repeating the defensive debacles of the last few years.

But getting a big fee for Vestergaard won't be easy, few clubs out there have any money, all have been losing money hand over fist due to the Covid 19 pandemic slashing revenues, Spurs for instance are over £1 billion in debt, they are in big trouble, they will look to do what they always do and that is buy low at the last minute, but years of fleecing other clubs in this way may now backfire on them, Daniel Levy has few friends in football due to his operating methods and suddenly he doesn't have the upper hand and it's payback time for him.

That is actually bad news for Saints a deal of Toby Alderwiereld plus cash would have been very tempting.

But the two obstacles in Saints way are that just due to the situation in the World the money isn't there and transfer values have plunged due to this and also we could lose him for nothing in a year.

From his personal perspective Vestergaard will turn 29 in August, so he hasn't got a lot of time left himself, if he want's a decent move then he needs to do it now.

In England Leicester could be the best hope for both the player and for Saints, but rumours have emerged of club's in Europe interested, but from Vestergaard's perspective he is not going to get the wages he gets in the Premier league, so we will find out if he is willing to take a cut to potentially have a great ending to his career.

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ElijahK added 09:39 - Jun 4
Personally I don’t care too much over whether we keep him or not! As we’ve got A LOT of signings to try and get if we wanna stay up next season. As realistically we need an actual decent PL goalkeeper, along with 3 more full backs, a box to box midfielder and another striker. So that’s 6 signings (in which I’m almost certain we’ll only get like 2/3 of!), so us selling him will give us more funding for the others, but at the same time that will be yet another position we’ll need to sign a replacement for.

As personally I’ve certainly seen him play worse in the last, but he, like many others, just dropped in form after Christmas and was still ok (and miles better than he used to be!) but wasn’t that amazing Vestergaard that we saw for a few months at the start of last season. Hence why I’m not too bothered ether way.

redwight added 09:45 - Jun 4
Not sure I've followed your argument here Nick. If we buy a toby type, are you advocating 3 at the back? If not, are you dropping JB or MS? We would also require more than just JS as back up.

kenis added 11:19 - Jun 4
If he wont sign a new contract, then he should be sold, if he signs we keep him. We need four "first team" center backs with one or two who can fill in if required due to injuries/suspension and/or if we want the option to play with 3 CBs for some games (so either a versatile full back/cdm and a youth option in addition to the four main ones).

halftimeorange added 11:19 - Jun 4
I'd keep Salisu with a more experienced, steady partner as you have advocated and Bednarek as back-up as he always gives 100% even if he does make errors. I'd get rid of Vestergaardbecause of his incoonsistency and I'd only keep Stephens if he is played in a more driving midfield role. I'd also dispose of the defensive coaching team as Bednarek and Vestergaard should know where each other should be after this time of training and playing together.

SaintPaulVW added 12:08 - Jun 4
He's another one that should be a leader but isn't. We need some roll up your sleeves types who get stuck in. He was a big part of our early season success but then his performance 'reverted to mean' late season.

With a year left if there is a sensible offer - I see Leicester who were supposed to be interested have gone for Tarkowski- then yes I think let him go. I suspect it will just be the usual bottom feeders sniffing around though.

Farlow added 12:16 - Jun 4
It would be a major mistake to sell Vestergaard he is far and away our best central defender
Stronger than Bednarek and his passing skills are excellent.He fits Hassenhutll,s pattern of play far better than Bednarek.Ithink he should persist with Vestergaard and Salisu who seems to read the game well.

AirFlorida added 13:48 - Jun 4
I like him. He has the odd laspes in concentration but makes up for that with his ability to play accurate long balls to start attacks - he's also our only defender who's a proven goal threat at set pieces. Wish he was more commanding at the back but if he was all these things Liverpool would have bought him in the last window. Hope he doesn't shine in the Euros.

stmichael added 13:54 - Jun 4
A bit like you Nick I would be quite happy if he stays but not devastated if he leaves..
Prefer him to stay but Toby plus cash is quite appealing..

Farlow added 14:13 - Jun 4
Given our very poor recent transfer activity i think when we have somoeone who can perform at the top level we need to keep him

DellBoyWally added 14:39 - Jun 4
I think Vestergaard is by far our best CB. Badnarek is too easily hustled out of things and has a tendency to wander off. Vester is trying to cover an out-of-position Badnarek and mark his own man - thus it appears as though he's the one out of position! Salisu will be good, I think most people accept that, but needs the experience of playing regularly in the right place. The problem we have there is that both he and Vester are primarilt left-footed! Badnarek becomes the backup; get a couple of mill for Stephens.
We need a ready-made LB - a 12 month loan deal with ManU? - and a decent backup. We need backup for KWP.
I agree with those that say we need a defensive coach.
I'd put Forster in goal - stop this silly chopping and changing - and let defence and keeper get used to the continuity.
We don't need a DM. JWP, Romeu, Diallo (another who is going to be good) and Jankie should surely be enough.
Stuey as a right-sided No 10 with Walcott as backup (Why did we sign him?) But we need a left-sided winger. Redmond should be moved on; would Djenepo improve his consistency if played more regularly? Tella needs game-time. DON'T GET MINAMINO!!!!
Ings/Adams is a good partnership but Ings' injuries mean we need cover. Or get rid and bring in 2 for the money? Or bring on Nlundlu with Obafemi moved on and 1 brought in.
I don't agree with those doom-mongers who predict certain struggles. We have a good side as shown early last season. We were hit badly without the size or quality of the squad to step up which is what Ralph is working on.
If Gao sells I hope it goes to a decent purchaser - not asset strippers like DeGrossa! If he doesn't then OK, he has done nothing wrong, the club is moving along. And, crucially, he takes nothing out the club

YosemiteSaint added 16:22 - Jun 4
Vestergaard makes far too many mistakes to be a reliable CB. In bending over backwards to accommodate him in our back four, we've destabilized the rest of the defence. Especially given his age, and the fact that his lone purple patch for Saints was 2020, we should try to get £15m+ for him and move on.

WestSussexSaint added 16:39 - Jun 4
Selling Vestergaard this summer largely depends on whether there are any half decent offers coming in for him. Like others who have commented I do like Vestergaard for the skills he does bring and have to accept that he is prone to the odd lapse and has the turning circle of an oil tanker. Without these deficiencies he probably would have signed for a bigger club in the first place. If he does go then Salisu is a ready made replacement so we don’t have to accept the first miserly offer that Levy (or whoever) thinks they can get away with.

davidargyll added 21:15 - Jun 4
JV is a bit of an enigma - not unlike a lot of the team - he has had his moments but also made some horrendous cock-ups, particularly towards the end of the season when his form fell away.
However I wonder whether the Euros haven’t got something to do with this, ie just maybe he told himself not to bust a gut, and don’t get injured in order to play a part in the Danish team at the Euros; and who knows maybe a big team will come in if you have a “good” tournament.
So a good performance by him in the next three or four weeks may be a bit of a double edged sword for the Saints…
That said I think potential buyers of stars following big tournaments are much warier now because history shows that it really doesn’t guarantee good performances at club level.

underweststand added 06:37 - Jun 6
JV really is a mystery . Despite his obvious height advantage, he doesn't always have the pace to win tackles and those he misses often end up with a card. He had a mixed first season, but began last year looking like " VvD mark 2 ", before getting injured and never quite recovered his early season form.
Good CB's are hard to find (as Gareth Southgate if discovering), and those who stand out in Saints history can be reckoned on one hand. Richards, Lundekvam, Svensson stand out as fine examples, and I still mourn the loss of Jose Fonte (still playing at 36).
Although he has his good points, I can't honestly say JV doesn't number amongst them.

The reality is that JV can go for a reasonable fee this summer, OR walk out the door for nothing next year. Surely it's a no-brainer - isn't it ?

KriSaint added 11:29 - Jun 8
I know for a fact Vestergaard likes to play for Saints and his family is very happy in the South of England. I whole-heartedly believe he wants to stay, so if Ralph wants to keep him, I can easily picture Jannick signing a new contract after the Euros.

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