Southampton’s decision to send Yan Valery out on loan during the winter transfer window was met with a lot of confusion by Saints fans, especially with the lack of a real back-up option to Kyle Walker-Peters on the right-hand side.
The South Coast club were unable to bring in a full-back during January after seeing loan moves for the likes of Brandon Williams, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Japhet Tanganga and Neco Williams all collapse.
Therefore, it was strange to see Valery join Championship strugglers Birmingham City, as it left Ralph Hasenhuttl without any real squad depth in defence.
Since then, Walker-Peters has picked up an injury that ruled him out for much of February, forcing the Austrian manager to play centre-back Jan Bednarek out of position at right-back.
Whilst the Polish international is solid defensively, he offers nowhere near the attacking threat of Walker-Peters, who would provide the Saints midfielders an out ball with his forward runs.
This has been a key factor in Southampton’s recent dreadful form, which has seen them pick up just one point from their last eight matches, including heavy defeats against Leeds United and Manchester United.
Saints fans would have been hoping that Valery would get regular game time with Aitor Karanka’s side in the Championship, but that has simply not been the case, which makes the decision to send him out on loan even more baffling.
The 21-year-old has made just one start for his new club so far and whilst he impressed in that game, earning a 7.65/10 rating from WhoScored, the rest of his appearances have all come from the bench.
Considering the French defender has made 37 appearances in the Premier League in his career thus far, and was a regular under both Mark Hughes and Hasenhuttl in the 2018/19 season, it was perhaps expected that he would get regular game time with the side currently hovering just above the relegation spots in the second tier.
However, the move clearly hasn’t worked out for the young defender so far and considering Walker-Peters’ injury concerns and the Saints’ recent form, it seems crazy that he was allowed to leave in the first place.
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