Mauricio Pellegrino’s stint in the Premier League started with a goalless stalemate at home against Welsh outfit Swansea as Southampton failed to take more than a point from the game. The manager has made a couple of decent additions to the squad already but is now looking to further improve his options before the end of the transfer window.
He is looking at some exciting stars who are ready to move and one player extensively linked with a move to the club recently is Wesley Hoedt.
According to reports from English news outfit Sun, Southampton have made an official bid of £15.5m for the services of the Dutch defender and he is widely touted as a replacement for one Virgil van Dijk, who wants to quit the club this summer.
The Independent claim that Southampton still wants to keep Van Dijk at the St Marys’ and that Hoedt is not a replacement at the club. So who is Hoedt and what will he add to the squad?
Hoedt and his attributes
Born and brought up in Alkmaar, the 23-year old is a product of the academy in his home town and after just two years in the senior side, he earned himself a move to Italy, with Lazio deciding to take him on. Ever since he established himself as the first choice alongside Stefan de Vrij and has turned into one of the most exciting defenders in world football.
Known for his strength and aggressive approach to defending, the Dutch international is a beast of a defender who loves to dominate his box. He wins most balls thrown in the air into dangerous areas while his ability to read the game, allows him to make productive interceptions at the back.
Strong in hold up play and smart with his passing, Hoedt is a star in the making and it does not come as a surprise that one of the best scouts in England are after him at the moment.
Can he replace Van Dijk?
Even as the Saints are adamant that he is not for sale, Virgil van Dijk has handed in a transfer request and it will not be easy for Southampton to reject another bid in excess of £60m this summer, be it from Liverpool or any other club.
The former Celtic man joined the Saints a couple of years ago and has turned into one of the best in the business at the moment in England and his international counterpart Hoedt is a similar player, who can have a similar impact in England.
At just 23, he has already represented the Dutch national side and is an established star, who could walk into the first team this season at the St Mary’s. With Van Dijk still not available, the Saints have used Jack Stevens and Maya Yoshida, who helped them keep a clean sheet against Swansea.
Hoedt is a genuine upgrade on probably both those names in quality. His experience is what might hold him back but Pellegrino is a manager who is not afraid to take such risks and this might help Hoedt to establish himself in the first team quickly. But can Southampton lure him out of Italy?