Southampton have been credited with an interest in Gary Cahill recently and the experienced centre-back could be a superb addition to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s squad.
According to Hampshire Live journalist Tom Leach, the 35-year-old centre-back is on a shortlist of names who could replace Jannik Vestergaard in Hasenhuttl’s side this summer following the Denmark international’s £15m move to Leicester City earlier this week.
Cahill is a free agent following his Crystal Palace exit earlier in the summer, and whilst he would be a short-term option for the Saints, he could add a wealth of experience to their backline.
Considering Southampton conceded 68 goals in the top-flight last season, and began their 2021/22 campaign with a 3-1 defeat against Everton at Goodison Park following a second-half collapse, it seems clear that they need to make defensive changes if they are to improve on the woeful run of form they have endured in 2021 thus far.
Despite Cahill being 35, he was a regular in Crystal Palace’s side last season, making 20 appearances for the Eagles in the Premier League, averaging a 6.57 rating from WhoScored for his performances.
Although he perhaps wouldn’t be signed as a first-choice centre-back, he could offer Hasenhuttl some excellent squad depth in defence, whilst also offering the likes of Mohammed Salisu advice on defensive positioning, which based on yesterday’s defeat against Everton, is something the 22-year-old needs to improve on.
Cahill was highly rated by former Palace manager Roy Hodgson, as he sang his praises last season, saying:
“First of all he’s a very, very good defender.
“His position is very good, he’s exceptionally good in the air, he’s a strong challenger for the ball and a very good blocker of the ball. These are the defensive qualities we don’t talk about every day… They’re the qualities that get you the clean sheets.
“He’s also brought us leadership qualities, he’s been very good leadership-wise. He’s the best type of leader; he’s the quiet leader people don’t see from Row Z in the stand. He’s the leader we see in training week to week.”
Therefore, he could also add some real leadership to a relatively inexperienced Southampton defence, which could go a long way to amending their issue of conceding soft goals this season.
And, in other news… Tom Leach drops Saints transfer update on £7.2m-rated “monster”