Southampton have reportedly been scouting Bristol City midfielder Tyreeq Bakinson recently and the 22-year-old could prove to be the ideal long-term replacement for Oriol Romeu at the south coast club.
According to the Bristol Post, Southampton scouts have been in attendance in recent Bristol City fixtures as Ashton Gate and have been admiring the young midfielder’s performances, although the likes of Wolves, Bournemouth and Norwich City are also credited with an interest.
It has been something of a breakthrough season for Bakinson at Bristol City, with previous campaigns having seen him spend time on loan at Newport County and Plymouth Argyle.
The 22-year-old has made 33 appearances in all competitions for the Robins this season, scoring two goals and providing one assist, averaging a 6.49 WhoScored match rating for his performances in the Championship.
WhoScored suggests that Bakinson’s strengths are in his ability to make interceptions and play through balls, as well as his excellent concentration, which immediately marks him out as a potential long-term replacement for Romeu in Southampton’s line-up.
The Spanish midfielder will turn 30 this year and, although you imagine that he can play for a few more years at the top level, it would be good for the Saints to have a replacement lined up.
Ibrahima Diallo has filled in for the former Chelsea man when the latter has been injured this season, and whilst the 21-year-old Frenchman has done a solid job and is strong in the tackle, he lacks the natural height of a defensive-minded midfielder, whereas Bakinson stands at 6 foot 3.
Bakinson also averages more blocks, clearances and interceptions per game than Diallo has done so far this season, which suggests that he could be a more natural replacement for Romeu in this Southampton side.
Therefore, Martin Semmens should consider bringing him to St Mary’s this summer, as he could be an excellent homegrown addition to Hasenhuttl’s squad.