Southampton confirmed late on deadline day that they had secured the signing of Duje Caleta-Car on a four-year deal from Marseille.
Ralph Hasenhuttl was delighted to get his new man and the 25-year-old will add some experience to a youthful backline at St Mary’s, which is showing a lot of promise with Mohammed Salisu and Armel Bella-Kotchap.
Hasenhuttl said: “Duje is already a very established and experienced player, who has done an impressive job at his previous clubs.
“He is a big presence on the pitch and he will bring even more quality into our centre-back group. It is important we have good depth and options in this position, and he gives us another very strong one.”
Jan Bednarek, meanwhile, would complete a season-long loan move to Aston Villa, and his comments upon joining the club perhaps emphasised why Southampton were keen to move him on.
The Polish defender said: “I’m happy and excited. I’m looking forward to the new adventure. It’s a great opportunity for me and another great step. That’s a really important one for me, to move to a bigger club and improve as a player.”
Considering he is only on loan, it is disappointing that he has seemingly had a dig at Southampton, and bringing in a player who actually wants to be at the club as his replacement should represent good business by the Saints.
Caleta-Car has impressed for Marseille in recent seasons, making 26 appearances in Ligue 1 last season, in which he averaged a solid 6.60 rating from WhoScored for his performances.
The 25-year-old has also impressed for Croatia in recent World Cup qualifying fixtures too, averaging a strong 7.05 rating from WhoScored, which emphasises his consistency and ability to play on a big stage.
He stands out as a progressive, modern centre-back, as he scores above the 90th percentile on FbRef for his passes attempted, pass completion and progressive carries when compared to other centre-backs across Europe’s top five leagues.
To put those numbers into perspective, Bednarek ranks in the 44th, 36th and 7th percentile for those categories, proving the former is far superior in possession.
As Bednarek is slightly older Caleta-Car too, it could prove to be another masterclass by sporting director Matt Crocker as he oversees a youthful revolution at St Mary’s, and the former Marseille man will hopefully improve Southampton further after some impressive recent displays against Leicester City and Chelsea.