After two defeats in the opening two games of the Premier League season, Ralph Hassenhutl has identified a gaping hole in his Southampton side.
Having lost Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to Tottenham in the summer and letting Mario Lemina leave the club on loan, the Saints are short in central midfield. It’s now been revealed that the German coach has identified potential targets for his squad.
According to The Athletic, Southampton were interested in bringing one of Ruben Loftus-Cheek or Scott McTominay to the club on loan to help with their issues. After Manchester United were linked with a move for Thiago, Hassenhutl believed that it could make the Scotland international available for a move. That however obviously didn’t happen as Thiago joined Liverpool, so he has now been ruled out as an option.
After starting the first Premier League game of the season, Loftus-Cheek was substituted and hasn’t featured even on the bench for Chelsea in their two games since. This has given the Saints encouragement that a deal could potentially be done, with the player himself open to a loan move if he is going to be guaranteed regular football.
After initially breaking into the Chelsea side, Loftus-Cheek had a successful loan spell away at Crystal Palace back in 2017. He returned expecting to be part of the first-team and while he was more involved than previously he never really established a starting-role. Eventually he began to impress under Maurizio Sarri before suffering a ruptured achilles tendon during a post-season friendly match.
Since returning from injury he has struggled to nail down a regular place in the side, although it was believed he would flourish under the management of Chelsea legend Frank Lampard. It hasn’t quite worked out that way though and now at 25 years old, he needs regular football.
He has incredible natural ability, with a drive from central midfield reminiscent of the great Patrick Vieira and Yaya Toure. His body so far hasn’t coped well with mens football though and he has suffered a lot with injuries. With Southampton having less games to play throughout the season his body may cope more and may even get used to a tighter schedule for his potential return to Chelsea.
If Southampton can get a deal done they will bring in a player who ups the level of their play in midfield on a relatively cheap deal (I can’t imagine the loan fee would be particularly high), while Chelsea will have one of their brightest academy talents playing regular football with the view of a potential return for one last chance in the first-team.
Seems like a win-win-win for both clubs and the player to me.