Southampton were a tad unfortunate during the closing weeks of January in relation to their centre-back situation. Jose Fonte’s ‘toys out of the pram’ situation meant that the Saints had to let their 33-year-old fans’ favourite move on – he eventually joined West Ham – and just days after that, Virgil van Dijk was ruled out for the bulk of the rest of the season through injury. Ouch… in more ways than one.
Jack Stephens stepped in admirably in his first match post-VVD – the EFL Cup semi-final second-leg win over Liverpool at Anfield – but since that heroic showing, between the academy graduate and Maya Yoshida, ten goals have been conceded in three matches.
However, even with the transfer window closed, the South Coast side may be able to get in an option to boost Claude Puel’s backline, and TuttoMercatoWeb are reporting that free agent Martin Caceres is a target for them.
The Uruguayan international has been without a club since seeing his contract at Juventus expire last summer, with a knee injury having kept him from kick-starting his career away from Turin. This is a move filled with ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’; yet, as his stats from since the start of 2012/13 show – in which he’s played enough minutes to equate to just over 41 Serie A games – he could be a risk worth taking…
As the numbers show, the South American has completed 91% of his passes (2,615), made 142 clearances, 70 tackles, won 65 aerial duels and put in 59 interceptions. Such stats are somewhat skewed by playing for one of the best teams in European football, but Caceres has certainly shown that he’s a quality option with plenty of pedigree.