Stats show exit of Barcelona target would dent Southampton’s backline

Things are certainly looking up for Southampton in recent weeks – aside from the disappointing 3-2 defeat against Manchester United in the EFL Cup Final – and they have finally found the goalscoring touch that they have craved for the majority of the campaign.

The addition of Manolo Gabbiadini during the January transfer window certainly helped, but the impact of Ryan Bertrand on the left, and Cedric Soares on the right, has also been a key factor in helping Saints find the net 10 times in their last three matches in all competitions.

The latter put in a magnificent performance at Wembley last month, and according to The Sun, Spanish giants Barcelona have been impressed with the performances of the 25-year-old defender.

The Portugal international, who moved to St Mary’s for just £5m from Sporting Lisbon in 2015, has gone from strength to strength in recent weeks, and the stats show just how impressive he has been under manager Claude Puel this term.

In 19 Premier League appearances, he has shown his defensive nous by making 65 clearances and 23 interceptions, as well as winning 42 tackles.

The Euro 2016 winner doesn’t tend to get a lot of the spotlight from Southampton supporters, but the fact that he has completed 29 key passes and nine take-ons also show just how effective he can be at the other end of the pitch too – something which has no doubt impressed Barcelona.

With Cuco Martina and Jeremy Pied as back-up to Cedric, Puel would almost certainly need to replace the right-back if the club decided to sell him to the La Liga leaders, but the Frenchman may also hope that finally – for one summer at least – the south coast outfit can hold on to their key men.