Southampton have been linked with a move for Levante winger Jorge de Frutos in recent weeks and if he were to join Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side in the summer, it could be bad news for Moussa Djenepo.
According to the Sunday Mirror (via TeamTalk), Southampton have been in contact with the 24-year-old as he continues to impress in La Liga this season.
Despite making just 12 league starts this season, the Spaniard has contributed an impressive three goals and seven assists in his appearances in the Spanish top-flight, averaging a solid 6.69 rating.
The youngster, who can feature on both wings and up front, is currently valued at £7.2 million by Transfermarkt, although his current deal is set to expire in 2025, suggesting that Southampton may be forced to pay over the odds if they want to bring him to St Mary’s this summer.
De Frutos only arrived at Levante from Real Madrid in the summer but he has clearly caught the eye with his performances, and could be a solid addition to Hasenhuttl’s squad.
If we compare his statistics this season to the wingers in the Southampton squad, he is only matched by Stuart Armstrong in terms of league goals, whilst he would lead the way in terms of assists, with the Scottish international the closest to him of the Saints wingers, with four league assists to his name this season.
Although De Frutos features primarily on the right, Armstrong’s impressive form means that the Levante man would presumably be moved to the left at Southampton, which causes problems for Djenepo.
His impressive stats this season suggest that he would definitely be able to challenge for a spot in the Austrian’s starting eleven should he join the club, which could seriously harm Djenepo’s first-team chances.
The Malian, who reportedly earns £55k per week at Southampton, has struggled to impress this season, with just one goal and no assists in 22 Premier League appearances, which has seen him average an awful 6.41 average rating.
Although the 22-year-old did grab what will hopefully be a confidence-boosting goal in the 3-0 win against Bournemouth last time out, there is no denying that he has disappointed when it comes to goals and assists in this Southampton side, and the potential arrival of De Frutos would likely harm Djenepo’s chances of nailing down a first-team spot under Hasenhuttl.