Southampton are once again being linked with Borussia Dortmund midfielder Thomas Delaney, and the Denmark international could be a superb addition to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.
According to German news outlet Sport BILD, Dortmund will sell the 29-year-old for just £9m, with Premier League trio Norwich City, Southampton and Crystal Palace all credited with an interest.
Although Southampton’s transfer model under Hasenhuttl has mainly prioritised younger players, the summer signing of Theo Walcott shows that the Austrian is willing to buck that trend on occasion, and he should do the same with Delaney, who was also linked with the Saints back in June.
The former Werder Bremen man is available for a bargain fee which is within Southampton’s budget and would add some much-needed depth in midfield.
Last season saw Southampton’s form drop off a cliff when Oriol Romeu was out injured, with Ibrahima Diallo struggling to replicate the Spaniard’s form, whilst Stuart Armstrong looks wasted in the middle and doesn’t offer the defensive discipline of someone like Romeu or Delaney.
The 29-year-old was a key part of Kasper Hjulmand’s Denmark side this summer as they reached the semi-finals of the European Championship, contributing one goal in six appearances and averaging a very solid 6.96 rating from WhoScored for his performances.
During the early stages of last season, we saw how effective a midfield partnership of James Ward-Prowse and Romeu could be, with the former Chelsea man doing the dirty work (no Southampton regular won more tackles per game), allowing the Saints captain to push forward and contribute more in attack.
Delaney could perform a similar role at St Mary’s next season and would even open up the possibility of switching to a formation with three central midfielders, which could make Hasenhuttl’s team a lot more defensively secure after they shipped the second-most goals in the top flight last season.
WhoScored describes Delaney’s main strengths as blocking the ball, tackling, interceptions and aerial duels, which is everything you could hope for in a defensive midfielder, so he would surely compliment Ward-Prowse very well in Southampton’s side next season.
Former Dortmund interim boss Edin Terzic was full of praise for the Denmark midfielder last season, saying: “Thomas Delaney always performs well, not just in the last two games. He is definitely a very important player who stabilises our defence and is always capable of destabilising our opponents. That is very important in this position. We are lucky to have a player like him in the squad.”
However, it now seems as if the 29-year-old will be available at a bargain price this summer, so Martin Semmens should definitely be looking to bring him to St Mary’s.