This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
According to Soccer Link, via Get French Football News, Southampton have joined a host of clubs in the race to sign Monaco centre-back Benoit Badiashile, and he would be the addition that would leave manager Ralph Hasenhuttl in dreamland.
Well, Soccer Link, via GFFN, report that Saints have made a formal enquiry for the highly-rated defender, who made 26 appearances in all competitions for the Ligue 1 outfit last term despite only celebrating his 18th birthday in March.
GFFN have relaid information that the south coast outfit have joined Premier League rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United, who have made verbal offers of €30m (£27.4m) for the teenager, as well as La Liga trio Atletico Madrid, Real Betis and Valencia, in the chase for the young Frenchman’s signature.
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The report adds that while Monaco director Oleg Petrov doesn’t want to lose Badiashile this summer, manager Leonardo Jardim is unable to guarantee him regular first-team football in 2019/20.
It has been no secret that Southampton, who have looked good going forward but sometimes shaky at the back in pre-season, have been wanting to bring a new centre-back to St Mary’s before the transfer deadline next week.
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The Telegraph reported it was their priority in the market following the addition of Che Adams – but links to players in that position have been very few and far between.
However, the Monaco man ticks a lot of boxes for Saints and their Austrian manager, as he is a player who has already shown his quality and has the potential to get even better and be sold on for a larger fee in the future, while he also fits into the under 24 age range for signings Hasenhuttl mentioned in an interview with SportBild earlier this summer.
According to Soccer Souls, the 6 foot 4 Badiashile is powerful, reads the game excellently and is a real ball-playing defender – backed up by the fact that he had a pass success rate of 89.5% in 20 Ligue 1 appearances last term, as per WhoScored.
Saints have been calling out for a quick and intelligent defender who can complement the likes of Jannik Vestergaard and Jan Bednarek at the back after 65 Premier League goals were conceded last term, and the 18-year-old appears to fit the bill.
His potential arrival could also be the one that finally allows Hasenhuttl to switch to the 4-2-2-2 formation that served him so well at RB Leipzig previously, seeing as he is still favouring a five-at-the-back system as shown by his selection for the first half against Feyenoord on Sunday.