Despite currently sitting in 13th place in the Premier League table, Southampton have only conceded 14 goals, leaving just Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Wolves having conceded fewer at this point in the season.
One player that has played a part in their impressive feat is Southampton’s 22-year-old centre-back Mohammed Salisu.
So far this season, Salisu has played in every single one of Southampton’s Premier League games, completing the full 90 minutes in all but one of them, highlighting just how important he has been for Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.
In those games, the defender, who is currently valued at £9m according to Transfermarkt, has racked up an average of two tackles per game, 2.6 interceptions per game and 3.9 clearances per game, which just goes to show how much of a capable defensive unit he is for the team.
Salisu recently said that he would one day like to become as good as Liverpool and former Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk.
However, since then, Salisu has certainly shown that he has the capacity to become one of Europe’s top centre-backs too, leading us to believe he could be Hasenhuttl’s next version of the Dutch defender at St Mary’s.
Labelled as a “big talent” by former Saints defender Jannik Vestergaard, the defender was signed for a fee of £10.9m from Spanish club Real Valladolid back in August last year. With that in mind, he’s certainly turned out to be a bargain for the club.
With Salisu currently listed as Southampton’s highest-rated player by WhoScored with an overall performance rating of 7.1/10 in the Premier League, perhaps the Saints star is closer to Van Dijk in terms of ability than he thinks with the Dutchman’s current season rating standing at 7.06/10 according to WhoScored.
With Southampton set to take on Liverpool at Anfield this weekend in the Premier League, it’s safe to say that Salisu will have to be at the top of his game if he wants to keep a clean sheet. After all, Jurgen Klopp’s side have managed to score more goals in the league (35) than any other team.
If, however, the Ghanaian is able to keep the likes of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah quiet, this would surely be another sign that the Saints man is capable of being their next Van Dijk for the foreseeable future.