Mark Hughes signing Marlon would raise big question marks over his decision-making

According to reports in The Mirror, Southampton are reportedly set to beat West Ham United to the signing of Barcelona defender Marlon Santos after agreeing a £10m fee with Barcelona, but the potential deal certainly raises some questions marks over manager Mark Hughes’ decision-making.

What’s the word, then?

Marlon in action for Nice

Well, The Mirror report that the south coast outfit have agreed a deal with the La Liga champions to bring the 22-year-old to St Mary’s, with the Brazilian viewed as a long-term replacement for Virgil van Dijk following his move to Liverpool during the January transfer window.

It is certainly no surprise that Hughes has looked to snap up a new centre-back considering his team only narrowly avoided relegation last term after conceding 56 times in their 38 Premier League games, with the likes of Wesley Hoedt and Jack Stephens struggling to put in consistent performances.

Marlon has only made two first-team appearances for Barca – both under Luis Enrique in 2016/17 – and he spent last season on loan at Ligue 1 outfit Nice.

Why would it raise question marks over Hughes’ decision-making?

While not many Southampton fans would argue with the need for a new centre-back this summer, it is hard to see that Marlon is the player that they are looking for.

Saints have been desperately missing the height and leadership that van Dijk – and even Jose Fonte previously – gave them, and considering the Brazilian is just 6ft tall and no proof that he will be a real vocal presence in the backline, he probably isn’t what they need.

Stephens and Hoedt both struggled in the air and against physical strikers last term, and a taller defender with more experience is surely what Hughes should be looking to bring to St Mary’s instead.

The signing of Mohamed Elyounoussi last week was a coup, but the arrival of Marlon Santos would certainly be a little bit worrying.