Whilst recent reports have linked Southampton with a January move for former Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj, Ralph Hasenhuttl may be better served by putting his faith in Saints academy ace Nathan Tella.
Belgian publication Het Laatste Nieuws (via Hampshire Live) claim that Southampton and Brighton and Hove Albion are monitoring his situation at Real Sociedad ahead of the January transfer window.
The 25-year-old has scored two goals in six La Liga appearances for Imanol Alguacil’s side so far this season, averaging a solid 6.95 rating (per WhoScored).
However, just two of those six appearances have been starts, suggesting that he is far from a guaranteed starter with the Spanish side, and perhaps a move away from the club is on the cards in January.
The Belgian international is currently valued at £9million by Transfermarkt and whilst this wouldn’t be an excessive fee for someone who David Moyes compared to a young Wayne Rooney back in 2014, the Saints could save themselves this fee by putting their faith in Tella instead.
The 21-year-old winger has now made five appearances for the Saints’ senior side, with three of those coming in the Premier League this season (per Transfermarkt).
The Englishman has impressed with Southampton’s B team in recent years, having contributed seven goals and seven assists in 41 appearances (per Transfermarkt).
Tella has worked his way up into Hasenhuttl’s first-team reckoning since joining from Arsenal’s academy side in 2017 and rather than signing Januzaj, we feel that the Austrian manager should put his faith in the youngster, as signing the Real Sociedad man could hamper Tella’s development.
The Saints boss was full of praise for the young winger after he made his first start for the South Coast side against Brentford in the Carabao cup earlier this season, saying, per the Daily Echo:
“What I like to see from him is that he really has no fear. He is going in and has a very good attitude.
“He runs a lot, is good working against the ball and, with the ball, has speed and the braveness to go deep, to go with the dribbling and this is a good combination.
“In the number 10 position, if you come in, you must have a high workload in that moment. He does it all the time. I am sure that he can get better.
“Maybe the final decision making is still getting better but I think he has some qualities that can help us in the future, definitely.”
Hasenhuttl currently has just four natural wingers in his squad, including Tella, so perhaps he should give the 21-year-old the opportunity to impress as he rotates his squad to cope with the busy Christmas period and then make a decision as to whether Januzaj would be a worthwhile purchase in the January transfer window.