Deadline day came and went without any real drama for Southampton fans, although it has emerged that Everton made a late bid for Kyle Walker-Peters, but Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side were clearly not willing to let him leave St Mary’s.
According to The Telegraph journalist Mike McGrath, Everton made a late move for the 24-year-old, who was also on his former club Tottenham Hotspur’s radar before their signing of Emerson Royal from Barcelona.
However, he suggested that Southampton were not willing to discuss any deal for the right-back, who has impressed at St Mary’s since joining on a permanent deal last summer.
Walker-Peters quickly established himself as first-choice right-back when he originally joined Southampton on loan in January 2020, so it was no surprise to see his move made permanent when the season was over.
In total, the Englishman has made 48 appearances for the Saints, in which he has contributed one goal and four assists, something he will no doubt be looking to improve upon this season.
Whilst the £16.2m-rated defender lost his starting spot to 18-year-old Valentino Livramento in the first two Premier League matches of the season, the last two games have seen him feature at left-back, which emphasises his versatility and the fact that Hasenhuttl wants him in the starting side, regardless of Livramento’s impressive displays.
After last season saw Southampton’s lack of full-back depth cruelly exposed, with Ryan Bertrand and Walker-Peters both out for a period which left Hasenhuttl with very few options, it was crucial that the club brought in a number of players in those positions this summer.
Romain Perraud and Thierry Small arrived as left-back options, whilst Livramento joined from Chelsea as a right-back, which gives the Austrian manager far greater choice in those positions.
Therefore, it would have been a disastrous decision to let Walker-Peters join Everton on deadline day, as it would’ve given Southampton very little time to find a replacement and could’ve left them in the same worrying situation as last season. For a period, they only had one natural option at right-back other than Yan Valery, who has perhaps shown with recent performances that he should be nowhere near the starting XI.
Southampton deserve credit for rebuffing the interest from Everton and you could definitely argue that they dodged a bullet by keeping him at St Mary’s rather than allowing him to join a Premier League rival.