Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has offered an update on centre-back Lyanco and the thought behind his arrival on the south coast…
The Austrian has urged caution over the signing of the Brazilian defender, stressing that he is a long-term project rather than someone who will make an instant impact at St. Mary’s.
Hasenhuttl told the club’s official website: “As always, for us, new signings are long-term projects. This is what I told him.
“He needs to learn his English, but he’s willing to learn in every area. A very good character and a very settled personality. Very happy to have him here.
“Ori, in the moment, is a little bit my translator. My Italian is not that good when I try to speak with him, especially in the football business there are some words I don’t know.
“He will make definitely a lot of games for us and a good signing for the future.”
These comments from Hasenhuttl will surely leave Southampton fans frustrated given the circumstances behind Lyanco’s arrival at the club. He joined following the sale of Vestergaard, which could indicate that he was seen as a replacement for the Danish centre-back, as no other senior signings in that area of the pitch were made over the summer.
Lyanco has not come through the door to instantly take the place of a squad player. Vestergaard was outstanding for the Saints in the Premier League last season, averaging a WhoScored rating of 6.89 across 30 appearances in the division. This placed him third overall in the Saints’ squad and well clear of any other centre-back, with Jan Bednarek’s 6.70 ranking the next best in terms of that position.
Therefore, the 24-year-old Brazilian has come in to replace Southampton’s best-performing defender and one of the club’s most important players from last season. The fact that the Saints have conceded six goals from their opening three league matches also suggests that the answer to replacing Vestergaard is not going to come from what was already there.
This is why Southampton fans could be frustrated by these quotes from Hasenhuttl, as he seems to indicate that Lyanco is not going to play in the short-term and is being viewed as a long-term project who can make an impact further down the line. The issue is that the Saints need a player to improve their defence now, given the aforementioned defensive record this term after Vestergaard’s exit.
Hopefully Hasenhuttl is just trying to ease the pressure on Lyanco and the expectation internally is that he will come into the team and impress sooner rather than later.