Despite having an average squad age of 26, Southampton have a handful of players who are in and around the twilight years of their careers.
One of those is 30-year-old midfielder Oriol Romeu, who signed for the club back in 2015 from fellow Chelsea for an undisclosed fee.
Since then, the Spaniard has made a total of 221 appearances for the Saints prior to their Premier League clash against Burnley this afternoon, scoring six goals and providing four assists in the process.
With the midfielder’s current contract at St Mary’s set to expire in 2023, we feel there’s a chance that Romeu could leave the club by that point, but we also believe that the Saints could already have an ideal replacement for him if he does leave.
That man is 18-year-old Ryan Finnigan, who has been described as an “excellent” player by the club’s academy director Matt Hale. A product of Southampton’s youth system, he has made 15 appearances for their under-18 side, scoring one goal, with one assist in seven games for the Saints’ B team.
Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl is apparently a big fan of Finnigan, who has made one senior appearance for Southampton, which came during their 2-0 win over Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup back in January.
Moving forward, if the teenager can continue developing in Southampton’s youth sides and make the most out of any future opportunities he gets in the first team, we think he could well go on to become a regular for them in the future as a potential long-term replacement for Romeu. That might save the club millions of pounds in potential transfer fees trying to sign a new midfielder, as well as seeing him join a long list of players to come out of the club’s youth academy to go on and have big careers in the Premier League.