Southampton should make January move for Pepe

Fixture In Focus banner Richard Lee

According to Sabah, Southampton will make a bid for Besiktas centre-back Pepe when the January transfer window opens for business.

What’s the story?

Pepe will turn 36 in the early stages of 2019, but is still going strong in the European game, having made more than 50 appearances for Besiktas since arriving from Real Madrid in the summer of 2017.

The 101-time Portugal international will see his current deal with Besiktas expire at the end of this season, however, and it is thought that the centre-back wants one more campaign at another club before hanging up his boots.

According to Sabah, Southampton tried and failed to sign Pepe during the summer, but will now launch another move in the winter transfer window.

It would be somewhat of a shock if the Saints were able to pull off a deal for the experienced defender, but it does make sense for the Premier League club.

Why should Southampton sign Pepe?

Put simply, Pepe is a winner. The centre-back won two league titles with Porto in the early stages of his career before moving to Real Madrid, where he landed three league titles, two Copa del Reys and three Champions League crowns.

Pepe also played a key role in Portugal’s success at Euro 2016, and was one of the finest defenders in world football for a long time.

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At 35, the centre-back is clearly not a long-term option for Southampton, but he has kept himself extremely fit, and would bring some much-needed quality and experience to the English club’s back-line.

Only four teams have conceded more Premier League goals than Southampton at this stage of the 2018-19 campaign, and Pepe is the type of character that the Saints will need as they battle to remain in the top flight.