This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
According to BBC Radio Solent’s Sports Editor Adam Blackmore on Twitter, Southampton could look to sign a No.10 during this summer’s transfer window.
Priorities are a CB and a FB and a ‘10’ possibly
— Adam Blackmore (@AdamBlackmore) July 4, 2019
Well, Blackmore was responding when asked to validate whether a Twitter rumour doing the rounds that Saints were closing in on a deal for Hull City’s Jarrod Bowen was true, and listed the south coast outfit’s remaining transfer priorities following the additions of Moussa Djenepo, Che Adams and Danny Ings already this summer.
The BBC man responded by saying that a new centre-back and full-back were next on the club’s list, as well as potentially a ’10’.
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The addition of a player in that position would certainly be surprising for a few reasons.
Well, manager Ralph Hasenhuttl’s preference when it came to formations last season was a system incorporating three centre-backs and wings-backs – something he has used in 18 of his 25 matches in charge to date, as per Transfermarkt.
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However, previously at RB Leipzig he preferred a 4-2-2-2 system – one he utilised in the final two Premier League matches of the 2018/19 campaign once safety was confirmed which looked to be a signal of the Austrian’s future intent.
Given the additions of Djenepo and Adams this summer, as well as Ings making his stay at St Mary’s permanent, Southampton seemed perfectly set up to play 4-2-2-2 with that trio joined by Nathan Redmond in a new-look front four.
However, Blackmore’s tweet has thrown a spanner in the works slightly, as there is no place for a No.10 in that system, and only really in a 3-4-1-2 or 3-5-1-1 formation.
Perhaps the Austrian wants to be flexible and have plenty of different options to choose from next season, but the potential addition of a No.10 places some doubt over whether his previous preferred 4-2-2-2 is going to be his first-choice formation in 2019/20.