Southampton have a rich history of bringing through academy players and turning them into first-team stars, whether that be at St. Mary’s or elsewhere after they have been sold.
The likes of Matt Le Tissier, Alan Shearer, Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and current player James Ward-Prowse all came through the youth ranks at Southampton, highlighting the impressive production line on the south coast over the years.
This means that fans have a right to get excited when an academy player makes the breakthrough into the first-team as they have seen how successful graduates can be. However, not every youngster is able to burst onto the scene and maintain an upward trajectory.
One excellent example of this is current first-team right-back Yan Valery. He made the step-up to first-team football at Southampton in 2018 but has struggled to kick on and progress in recent seasons.
The Frenchman played 24 times in all competitions in the 2018/19 campaign for the Saints, averaging a solid WhoScored rating of 6.66 in 23 Premier League appearances. He averaged 2.8 tackles and interceptions per game, whilst also chipping in with two goals and one assist from the right-back position.
At the end of his debut campaign at senior level, Valery was valued by Transfermarkt at £6.3m at the young age of 20. Ralph Hasenhuttl seemingly had a promising and talented defender in his ranks with the potential to progress and become a regular first-team star at St. Mary’s.
Instead of developing further and fulfilling his potential, Valery has endured a tough couple of years at Southampton under Hasenhuttl. The Austrian coach has been unable to get the best out of the defender, with his appearances and performance levels dropping over time.
In the 2019/20 campaign, the right-back made 11 Premier League appearances and averaged a WhoScored rating of 6.38. Last season, he only played three times in the top-flight and averaged a score of 6.15, before being loaned out to Birmingham in the Championship. Valery made five appearances in the Championship for Birmingham, only two from the start, and averaged a dismal rating of 6.33 despite dropping to a lower division.
Now, Valery is valued by Transfermarkt at £2.7m. This is a 57% decrease from two years ago and shows how Hasenhuttl has had a howler with the defender as he has been unable to help him progress.
Of course, it is also down to Valery to put the performances in on the pitch, but there has been little sign that Hasenhuttl’s coaching has aided his development.
Valery is yet to play a game in the Premier League this season and the rarely-seen full-back’s time at the club could be coming to an end if his lack of game time continues.
There is little point having a player whose value is plummeting at the club if there is a chance to sell him on, as it could recoup some money for Martin Semmens to spend on a replacement.