Mohammed Salisu looks to be in contention for his first appearance in a Southampton shirt on Monday night when the Saints face Brighton and Hove Albion away from home.
It was confirmed by Ralph Hasenhuttl earlier in the week that the Ghanaian, who joined from Real Valladolid during the summer, could make his first appearance for the first-team against Graham Potter’s side.
The Austrian manager has suggested previously that Salisu needed to learn how to play in this Southampton side and improve his fitness before he could be considered for selection, but it seems as if he has done enough to convince his manager that he is ready to play against the Seagulls on Monday.
Following Southampton’s collapse against Manchester United last weekend, which saw them lose 3-2 despite winning 2-0 at the break, Hasenhuttl must consider making some defensive changes to his side, and that includes handing 21-year-old Salisu a start.
Jannik Vestergaard was full of praise for the young defender earlier this year, saying:
“He looks comfortable on the ball, has an amazing physique and is just generally a nice guy.
“Quiet for now, but it’s always difficult coming as a new player, so maybe he’s just saving up his words for later!
“But I think he’s a big talent and he has a lot of years ahead of him.”
However, the Danish international might not be too happy if Salisu takes his place in the first-team, after what was a nightmare display from the 28-year-old last time out, as he earned a 5.97 rating for his display.
Therefore, Vestergaard, who earns £60k per week at Southampton, would certainly be lucky to keep his place, and Hasenhuttl must hand Salisu a spot in his starting XI on Monday evening.
Brighton have produced some very solid performances recently and showed against Liverpool last weekend that they can get in behind a defence, so it would make sense for the Saints boss to entrust Salisu to start alongside Jan Bednarek, rather than Vestergaard, who isn’t the most mobile of defenders.
Hopefully for Salisu, who is valued at £10.8 million by Transfermarkt, this can be the first of many appearances in a Southampton shirt, as he looks to have a big future ahead of him at the South Coast club.