Southampton have suffered a transfer blow after VfL Wolfsburg announced the signing of Marin Pongračić from RB Salzburg on a four-and-a-half year contract.
Well, according to Sky Sports, the Croatian was a ‘long-term’ target for the Saints as Ralph Hasenhuttl was ‘open’ to the idea of adding another centre-back to his ranks.
The former Bayern Munich academy player will wear the No.22 shirt with his new club, and began training with his VfL Wolfsburg teammates on Wednesday.
Welt Fussball recently reported that Pongračić was in discussions with a club ‘from abroad’ which piqued these Southampton fans’ interest, although clearly, that team was most likely VfL Wolfsburg in lights of their transfer announcement.
RB Salzburg Sporting Director Christoph Freund also said that it was ‘possible’ the 22-year-old could leave the Austrian side in this transfer window, and that statement has now come to fruition as Hasenhuttl misses out.
Missing out on Pongračić – who the Bundesliga’s official website likened to Borussia Dortmund star Mats Hummels – means that it is back to the drawing board for Hasenhuttl and Southampton.
“Like the Borussia Dortmund stalwart, Pongracic appears to glide effortlessly across the pitch. Excellent at anticipating and intercepting passes forward, one of his greatest strengths is his ability to bring the ball out from the back. Never one to simply hoof it clear, Pongracic – like Hummels – can instigate attacks from deep, mixing clever passes on the ground with laser-guided long balls into a teammate’s path.”
The south coast side could do with another centre-back within their ranks as, behind Jack Stephens and Jan Bednarek, they have just Maya Yoshida and Jannik Vestergaard to provide cover.
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Significantly, Yoshida has only managed five Premier League minutes since the 9-0 defeat to Leicester back in October and the Japan international’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season, while Southampton are open to selling Vestergaard – another centre-back to provide serious competition wouldn’t go amiss.
It means that Hasenhuttl has just 15 days remaining to add to his ranks, which remain the exact same as when the January transfer window opened despite his declaration that the Saints “will do something” about the full-back positions.
“It is absolutely clear that we must do something with the full-back positions. This is definitely a position we’re looking at for the moment and we will do something.”
In other news, these Southampton fans react as “solid backup to Bertrand” who was “dreadful last season” is linked with a move to St Mary’s…