According to The Mirror’s live transfer blog (July 2, 13;29), Aston Villa are looking to sign Southampton defender Jack Stephens.
Ralph Hasenhuttl is undergoing a bit of an overhaul this summer and is keen to move a number of players on to generate some funds and lower the wage bill.
Going the other way has been left-back Matt Targett, who signed for the club who are also said to be interested in Stephens – Dean Smith’s newly-promoted Villa.
And now it would seem the 6 ft 1 Stephens could be the next long-serving Saints player going in what is shaping up to be a busy time.
Hasenhuttl has a great number of centre-backs which he can rely on for the new season – Jannik Vestergaard, Jan Bednarek and Maya Yoshida, with Wesley Hoedt another one of those reportedly up for sale.
It is worth pointing out that Saints conceded the sixth-highest number of goals in the 2018/19 Premier League campaign.
Suffice to say then that Stephens, who played in more of those games than any other central defender aside from Bednarek who played one more, failed to contribute to a unit conducive to keeping the ball out of the net.
One standout moment in particular was when he actually scored an injury-time equaliser against Cardiff City in February, before then giving the ball away cheaply as the Bluebirds netted an even later winner.
Therefore, based on the two facts – that Saints were poor defensively last year and that a common fixture in that defence is now the subject of interest from another club – it would seem the south coast side’s best option would be to get rid of him.
Southampton’s new man Moussa Djenepo divides opinion amongst fans in the video below…
Now he should not pull any punches this summer when it comes to disposing of those who are not up to scratch, starting with Stephens.