Southampton’s reported hopes of signing Gary Cahill this summer are over after the 35-year-old completed his move to Bournemouth earlier this week.
The veteran defender had emerged as a potential target for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side in recent weeks following the exit of Jannik Vestergaard, and the former England international could have been a stellar addition at St Mary’s.
The centre-back was available on a free transfer and would’ve provided a wealth of experience for Southampton’s side both on and off the pitch, which is arguably something they lack following player exits so far this summer.
The Saints conceded the second-most goals in the Premier League last season and this campaign did not get off to the best start for Hasenhuttl’s side either as they collapsed in the second half against Everton at Goodison Park last weekend, which suggests that defensive reinforcements are required.
Although they are reportedly closing in on a deal for Torino’s Lyanco, he is just 24 years old and has no experience in the Premier League, so signing someone like Cahill might well have been a good idea for Southampton this summer.
The 35-year-old, who has earned 61 caps for England, might be approaching the end of his career but he still managed 20 appearances in the top flight with Palace last season and was praised for his influence by his then-manager Roy Hodgson, who said: “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, Cahill could have solved a key issue for Southampton this season – their lack of experience in defence – and Hasenhuttl may well be disappointed that the Saints couldn’t bring him in.