Southampton Opinion: Saints should make a move for Pol Lirola
Appointing Ralph Hasenhuttl after sacking former manager Mark Hughes seems to have done the trick for Southampton. Not only are they out of the relegation zone, but the 2-1 victory over Tottenham will prove to be a crucial one going forward.
While they still have Liverpool left to play among the top six sides, the other eight fixtures can be won. That’s easier said than done, with the club facing the likes of Newcastle United, Watford, Wolves and even Bournemouth before the season ends.
This will prove to complicate things for the Saints. And if they survive the Premier League, then Southampton will have to reinforce their team.
Their defence has looked shaky at times, and both Oriol Romeu and Mario Lemina have struggled to hit top gear. That combined with their issues up front and a lack of wingers will see the Saints suffer again next season.
But that’s only if the club doesn’t reinforce key areas over the summer. They need another right-back. Jan Valery’s rise has been incredible, with the 20-year-old replacing Cedric Soares very effectively.
Soares is currently out on loan with Inter Milan and has played all but two games since his arrival. However, given that the loan deal with the Nerazzurri does include an option to buy, Southampton should look towards the future and target another right-back.
One man the Saints should look to is Serie A star Pol Lirola, given the 21-year-old’s form this season in the Italian top-tier. The former Juventus starlet has been excellent for Serie A outfit Sassuolo this season, missing just three games.
That shows his consistency and ability to stay fit, but it’s his defensive nuance that the Saints need.
A solid defender, the Spaniard combines defensive solidity with offensive work rate that is better than most wingers. While his defensive nuance is undoubted, Lirola adds to that with the splendid offensive work rate that has allowed him to either score or assist his teammates.
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Pol Lirola’s versatility to play as a right wing-back as well makes him a great option to have for Southampton. The 21-year-old is not without fault, and like most footballers, he has his weakness. But it is nothing that cannot be ironed out under the right manager.
It will take time for Pol Lirola to adjust to the Premier League but once he does, the Spaniard will be an asset to Southampton.