Southampton have been linked with a move for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Thomas Delaney recently, and the 29-year-old could be the man to finally replace Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.
According to ESPN, Southampton are keen on the Denmark international, with Dortmund expected to demand just £8.6m for his services this summer.
The 29-year-old’s contract at Signal Iduna Park is set to expire at the end of next season, and along with the rise of teenage sensation Jude Bellingham, that could see the former Werder Bremen midfielder et go for a cut-price fee this summer. Southampton could be the ones to benefit, especially as he suits Hasenhuttl’s transfer plan of targeting players under £10m.
The Denmark international also admitted when signing for Dortmund that it was his “big wish” to play in the Premier League, so a move to Southampton could certainly be on the cards.
If he were to arrive at St Mary’s, he could be the man to step up as Hojbjerg’s replacement after his 25-year-old international colleague completed a move to Tottenham Hotspur last summer.
Following his arrival from Bayern Munich in 2016, the midfielder went on to make 134 appearances for the Saints, contributing five goals and six assists, whilst he was also appointed as captain of the club. However, he made it clear that he wanted to depart last summer and he duly joined the north Londoners, with Kyle Walker-Peters heading the other way.
Ibrahima Diallo arrived last summer as his potential replacement but was limited to very little game-time until Oriol Romeu’s injury. After a positive start, the 21-year-old has struggled to perform in recent weeks, with a notably poor performance in the FA Cup semi-final perhaps highlighting that he isn’t ready for a regular starting berth.
Whilst Romeu has been one of the Saints’ top performers this season when fit, they have struggled in his absence, which suggests that they need a more experienced head in midfield to step in should he be unavailable.
Therefore, Delaney could be the ideal man for Southampton this summer, and he could arguably fill the hole left by Hojbjerg, who he will know well from their time playing together with Denmark.
The Dortmund midfielder has averaged 1.9 tackles and 1.1 interceptions per game, along with an 83.3% pass success rate, in the Bundesliga this season, whereas Hojbjerg has averaged 2.3 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per game, with an 88.5% pass success rate.
Therefore, the 29-year-old could be the man to finally replace Hojbjerg in Hasenhuttl’s side, as this season has perhaps emphasised that Diallo is not yet ready for a regular starting spot, and someone of Delaney’s experience could be a very useful acquisition for Southampton ahead of next season.