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Earlier this month, reports emerged that Southampton are in the hunt to sign Werder Bremen midfielder Zlatko Junuzovic in the summer (Daily Star). The Austria international, who is valued at £6million, is also wanted by Premier League newbies Huddersfield Town as well, according to the same report.
New Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino is reportedly a huge admirer of the 29-year old midfielder and is keen on adding him to the ranks ahead of his first season in charge of the South Coast club.
The extremely talented midfielder has been with the German outfit for more than five years now, having joined the club in January 2012, from FK Austria Wien. He has clocked a total of 172 appearances for Werder, finding the back of the net on 20 occasions and chalking up 49 assists – impressive numbers considering that he has played in an orthodox central midfield role for most parts.
The Austrian international had an impressive season, scoring 5 times and setting up 10 more rom 31 games in all competitions, establishing himself as one of the most consistent performers for the club.
Technically gifted, Junuzovic is an extremely intelligent player with very good tactical awareness. A player with gifted vision, he thrives in the space in the middle of the park to create chances for his teammates. Junuzovic also possesses a very good range of distribution. While he has the ability to make a big difference for the team going forward, he is equally solid in performing the defensive side of his duties.
His reading of the game and anticipation allows him to make interceptions and break the play from building up. He also possesses tremendous work-rate, which means he is always hustling and bustling on the pitch. The 29-year old may not be the tallest at just a little under 5ft 8in but he still uses his strength and robust nature to hold the ball, making him an ideal fit for English football.
Being the captain of the club, Junuzovic also brings his natural leadership abilities on the field and in the dressing room, along with his vast experience, which will only add more strength and mettle to the team.
Southampton have several options in the middle of the park, in the form of Steven Davis, Oriol Romeu, James Ward-Prowse, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Jordy Clasie. However, those players do not offer the same quality or attributes that Junuzovic will be able to add to the team. With doubts surrounding the future of Clasie at the club, there will be a vacancy in the midfield options that could be suitably filled by the 29-year old.
Junuzovic just has a little under a year left on his contract with Werder Bremen and as reported by Daily Star, is likely to be available for a fee of £6million only. At that price, in the current state of the transfer market, signing the 52-time capped Austrian international will be a great piece of business for the Saints and Pellegrino should try and get this done at the earliest.