Southampton transfer news: Where Saints want to strengthen before deadline

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl

Southampton would like to bring in defensive reinforcements before the close of the January transfer window, according to The Athletic's Dan Sheldon. 

Saints faced Arsenal for the second time in a matter of days on Tuesday night and while Ralph Hasenhuttl's side enjoyed an FA Cup victory on Saturday, this time they suffered a 3-1 defeat. 

However, the Southampton boss was forced to select a noticeably weakened matchday squad due to a spate of injury problems, with regular full-backs Ryan Bertrand (suspended) and Kyle Walker-Peters (injured) both absent from the starting XI and the bench mostly occupied by youngsters. 

Speaking in The Athletic's match discussion thread, Sheldon revealed he expects Southampton to try and bring in a defender to bolster the squad before next week's transfer deadline. 

He said; "With 75 per cent of their normal back four missing, it was always going to be difficult in defence — especially with both first-choice full-backs absent.

"Hasenhuttl and the board still have time to fix that issue in the transfer window & you'd like to think they will get something done before it closes."

Sheldon further elaborated when asked specifically about Southampton's transfer activity, explaining that the Premier League club still want to sign a full-back and even directly naming Manchester United's Brandon Williams. 

He said: "Southampton would still like to add another full-back to their squad. Conversations I’ve had with various contacts throughout January left me thinking clubs won’t make decisions on letting players go until the final few days of the window. Brandon Williams is admired but Southampton are also exploring other options."

GIVEMESPORT's Christy Malyan says...

Southampton's interest in Williams is nothing new and he does seem like an ideal fit for Saints.

Not only can the Red Devils youngster operate on both defensive flanks, meaning he'd really improve the depth of Southampton's squad, but his busy and scrappy style of play also perfectly suits the pressing philosophy that Hasenhuttl has implemented at St. Mary's. 

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It remains to be seen if a deal can be done after United allowed Timothy Fosu-Mensah to leave for Bayer Leverkusen earlier this month, but the defeat to Arsenal highlighted the importance of Southampton finding another full-back option before the deadline. 

The game ended with Ibrahima Diallo, a young defensive midfielder still learning his trade, filling in at left-back after Jake Voskins came off, which tells its own story of how thin Southampton's squad is outside of their first-choice starting XI. 

Of course, there's always a danger of panic buying in such scenarios but with injuries already costing them dearly, it's clear Saints need more bodies if their superb start to 2020/21 isn't going to peter out in the coming months. 

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