Ozan Kabak is reportedly one of the centre-backs that could be available to Southampton this summer, and he could be the ideal heir to Jannik Vestergaard.
That included Kabak, who spent the second half of last season on loan with Liverpool in order to aid their defensive crisis, and he would go on to make 13 appearances for the Reds, helping them earn a top-four finish in the Premier League.
Although he had some difficult moments in a Liverpool shirt, Kabak is still just 21-years-old and now has plenty of experience playing in the Bundesliga, Premier League and Champions League.
Whilst he is currently rated at £22.5m by Transfermarkt, Schalke’s financial woes suggest that he could be prised away in a bargain deal this summer, with some reports suggesting that the German side may even need to terminate his contract in order to balance the books, which would make him an extremely appealing option for the Saints from a financial perspective.
Hasenhuttl has shown a preference for signing younger players during his time at St Mary’s and Kabak could be the ideal long-term replacement for Vestergaard, although the Saints arguably do need an experienced head at the back if they want to avoid shipping so many goals again this season.
The Turkey international is clearly adept in the air, as he won 4.1 aerial duels per game in the Bundesliga and 2.9 per game in the Premier League last season, whilst he also boasts an impressive pass accuracy, which suggests that he could take over from Vestergaard when it comes to making the long switches of play to Southampton’s full-backs.
During his time with Stuggart, sporting director Thomas Hitzlsperger was full of praise for the defender, saying:
“It’s incredible how worldy-wise he is for his age. It’s astonishing. I see him every day and am amazed at how he mature he is. He wants to know everything; he wants to learn German right away and understand everything. That’s the kind of attitude we need. He’s already a role model, despite his age.”
Therefore, given that he could well be available on a free transfer shortly, signing Kabak would make a huge amount of sense for Southampton this summer.
And, in other news… Hasenhuttl can amend key Saints issue by signing “exceptionally good” free agent