Southampton continue to be linked with Manchester United full-back Brandon Williams this month, with The Athletic’s Dan Sheldon suggesting that he ‘remains a target’ and after Tuesday’s defeat against Arsenal, it seems clear that the Saints have to bring him in on loan this month.
Ralph Hasenhuttl was without both of his first-choice full-backs for the visit of Arsenal earlier this week, with Kyle Walker-Peters having picked up a muscle injury in training, whilst Ryan Bertrand was suspended.
Youngsters Yan Valery and Jake Vokins started in their place and both struggled against Mikel Arteta’s side, as they picked up 6.1 match ratings from SofaScore – the joint-worst of any outfield player on the pitch.
Both of Arsenal’s wingers, Nicolas Pepe and Bukayo Saka, would score on Tuesday after getting in behind the young full-backs, so you could argue that they were a big reason why Southampton ended up losing the game.
Neither have much experience in the top-flight, with Vokins having made just five senior appearances for Southampton in his career, whilst Valery has spent time with David Horseman’s B team this season following the arrival of Walker-Peters, having struggled to establish himself in the first-team since the 2018/19 season.
Therefore, when Hasenhuttl brought on Nathan Redmond for Vokins in the second-half, with defensive-midfielder Ibrahima Diallo moving to left-back, the Austrian was perhaps sending a message to the Southampton board that he is desperate for some defensive cover, especially with the Saints struggling with injuries this season which has emphasised their poor strength in depth in recent fixtures.
Williams looks to be the ideal man to bring in, as the 20-year-old has featured as both a left-back and a right-back in his time with Manchester United, so could provide excellent cover for both Bertrand and Walker-Peters.
The £9.9 million-rated youngster has struggled for game time in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side this season as a result of Luke Shaw and Alex Telles’ form, so a loan move could definitely suit both parties.
If Williams were to impress we could see a repeat of the situation that saw Walker-Peters join on a permanent deal from Tottenham Hotspur during the summer, and given the performances of both Valery and Vokins on their rare starts against Arsenal, it seems as if the full-back would be a great option to have for the long-term, rather than just this season.
Therefore, Martin Semmens should do everything he can to bring him to St Mary’s before the transfer window shuts.
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