Southampton must act swiftly to land the signing of Middlesbrough defender Dael Fry this summer.
According to Football League World, the Saints are among a number of clubs who have been scouting the 23-year-old in recent months. The report claims that Leeds, Burnley, Southampton and Wolves have all had representatives go to watch him in action in the Championship.
Newly-promoted Brentford are said to be leading the charge for his signature. Football League World has claimed that the Bees are preparing to submit an offer for Fry as they attempt to bolster their squad ahead of their debut Premier League campaign.
Earlier this year, Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock compared the defender to Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk in terms of his importance to the team. The 72-year-old said that Boro would not be able to replace the “complete” defender, just as Klopp has not been able to adequately replace Van Dijk since his injury.
Warnock told the Yorkshire Post: “The headlines that shocked me yesterday were a group of people wanting Jurgen Klopp out. That is football at its craziest. He has lost the best centre-half in the world (Virgil van Dijk) and you cannot replace them.
“You can put people in and think you can do this.. But you cannot replace quality like that. And we cannot replace Dael. He is our best centre-half by a mile.
“We can play around him and if Dael is fit, we have got different people to fit here and there. But we cannot replace Dael. He is the complete player for me.”
Southampton must act swiftly if they want to secure a deal for the promising Fry. Brentford are seemingly a step ahead of the others at the moment as they are preparing an opening salvo for the 23-year-old, which suggests that they could be set to beat the Saints and Leeds, among others, to the chase. Therefore, Southampton need to move quickly to ready an offer of their own to make sure they can strike before Brentford reach an agreement with Middlesbrough and the player.
Ralph Hasenhuttl would surely be delighted if the Saints could bring Fry into their squad. The Austrian’s side conceded a whopping 68 goals in the 2020/21 Premier League campaign, a tally only West Brom (76) exceeded. This suggests that Hasenhuttl needs defensive reinforcements, and the 23-year-old could be an ideal player to bring in to strengthen the competition and raise the quality at cetre-back.
The £5,500-per-week beast enjoyed an impressive campaign in the Championship with Middlesbrough. He averaged a superb WhoScored rating of 7.10 across 30 starts at centre-back in the division. Fry was able to show off his excellent defensive instincts, with 6.3 aerial battles won, 3.9 clearances made, 1.8 interceptions and 0.8 blocks per game.
Jan Bednarek, meanwhile, averaged a WhoScored rating of 6.70 in the Premier League in 36 starts. Therefore, Fry could have the potential to challenge the Poland defender for his spot and fight for a place in the starting XI, which is why Saints must act to seal a deal for the Boro ace.