Why Jonas Hoffman can help Southampton survive the drop this season
In his earlier days at Borussia Dortmund, Jonas Hoffman was one of the most promising youngsters in Europe and was tipped by many to be one of the future stars for the Germany national team.
However, he managed only 59 appearances for Dortmund over the course of four seasons, registering 5 goals and 15 assists before completing a move to Borussia Monchengladbach back in 2015.
The 26-year-old, who has 15 caps for Germany at the youth level, has fared reasonably well for Monchengladbach, accumulating 9 goals and 15 assists for his team from 75 appearances. Although those stats are not outrightly poor, it is fair to say that a player of his calibre has not lived up to his potential.
Hoffman started his career primarily as a winger and an attacking midfielder but he has been used in a deeper role at Monchengladbach due to the presence of Thorgan Hazard in the team.
Standing at 5ft 10in, the 26-year-old has just the perfect height for a winger. His low centre-of-gravity coupled with his sharpness and agility make him a handful for any opposition in the Bundesliga.
Hoffman is someone who likes to play to his strengths and knows his limitations very well. He doesn’t have the strength to maraud his way past the opposition but he knows exactly how to use his pace and skills to create chances and make space for the rest of his teammates.
Known for his tactical intelligence to work the pockets of space in the final third, Hoffman likes to drift to the central areas of the pitch from the flanks to allow the full-backs make overlapping runs. He is not the greatest crosser of the ball but he is a player with a keen eye for a defence-splitting pass. He is also adept at holding onto the ball, allowing others to get into scoring positions and pull the strings.
Hoffman has amassed 5 goals and 3 assists from 11 appearances in the Bundesliga this term and has played a key role in his team’s surge to second place in the standings. The 26-year-old averages 48.5 passes with an accuracy of 82.9%, including 2 key passes, 2.4 long balls and 1 cross per game in the Bundesliga this term.
To put things into perspective, he is currently going through a purple patch this season and a move to the Premier League might take his career to the next level. In fact, he would be an ideal signing for any mid-table side and Southampton must start keeping close tabs on him ahead of the January transfer window.
Southampton have struggled to hit the ground running this season and the Saints are currently at 17th place with 12 points from 17 games. Ralph Hasenhuttl has taken over the reins from Mark Hughes and Southampton need some fresh faces in January to add substance to their toothless attack that has delivered only 16 goals so far.
A lack of creativity in the final third coupled with the failure of Shane Long and Charlie Austin up front has been the major cause of Southampton’s undoing this season.
Summer recruit Mohamed Elyounoussi has underwhelmed to a large extent while Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has run out of partners in the midfield. In other words, they have lacked that much-needed cohesion in the final third and someone like Jonas Hoffman can add a lot to the attack with his sharpness, agility and creativity.
Ralph Hasenhuttl has spent a large part of his managerial career in the Bundesliga and Southampton must bank on him to use his links to land Hoffman in January.