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Southampton, one of the most exciting English outfits, are keen to get rid of their ‘selling club’ status and accused Liverpool of ‘tapping up’ their star defender Virgil Van Dijk last month. The reds, who have frequently raided the Hampshire outfit in recent years, published a public apology and officially stopped pursuing the Dutch centre-back. Argentine gaffer Mauricio Pellegrino (following a stellar La Liga season with newly promoted Deportivo Alaves), replaced Frenchman Claude Puel as Saints boss and has taken a strong stance to keep hold of their key resources.
The set of circumstances took a bad turn when Van Dijk asked to let him leave for Liverpool. Hence, he was not included in Southampton’s pre-season tour and is currently training alone at club’s Staplewood campus. Although the Saints have not yet agreed to listen to offers for the 26-year old.
Southampton, nevertheless, should be ready for any consequences and must conclude a few deals before the transfer deadline day.
Current Team: Tottenham Hotspur
Saints, who are hailed for their talent pool and scouting network, have already strengthened their back-line with Polish youth international Jan Bednarek, the 21-year old former Lech Poznan prodigy, who is rated as one of the brightest prospects of Polish football.
But the egress of veteran Jose Fonte and the situation regarding Van Dijk left them with Maya Yoshida as their most experienced defender. Jack Stephens, despite a promising Premier League debut, is too young to take defensive responsibilities for an entire campaign and Pellegrino must find a new resource who can serve his side on the long run.
Wimmer, the 24-year old Austrian international, joined Spurs a couple of years back from Bundesliga outfit FC Koln. Although he impressed in his limited opportunities, Wimmer failed to earn a first team status ahead of Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier. He has now been looking for a new Premier League suitor for regular football and Southampton would do well to bring Wimmer in as van Dijk’s replacement if the Dutchman eventually decides to depart.
Current Team: Liverpool
There might be contradictions regarding the transfer of this Englishman who was once labelled as ‘Scouse Cafu‘ for his sheer quality during Liverpool’s eventful 2013-14 Premier League season. But significant injuries stalled his career growth and lack of game-time during an unsuccessful loan spell with Burnley did not help him either.
Academy prodigy Trent Alexander-Arnold has emerged for the Reds meanwhile and Flanagan, efficient in both the fullback roles, needs a fresh start to resurrect his future. Southampton have previously banked on Chelsea flop Ryan Bertrand who is now termed as one of Premier League’s best left-backs and is being chased by top guns of the league. Flanagan too can be a shrewd signing and serve the purpose for long if he is relied upon by new boss Pellegrino.
Current Team: AFC Ajax
The Dutch-born Moroccan international had a majestic campaign for the Eredivisie heavyweights following his move from FC Twente last year. The versatile midfielder netted 15 and assisted 16 times in 47 appearances for club and country, and pulled the strings from midfield with his vision, concentration, strong shooting, dribbling and passing traits along with impressive set-piece ability. Dusan Tadic struggled to bring in goals to his game and Ziyech, capable of playing in multiple midfield roles, can be another astute piece of business for the forthcoming season.