Saints eye 24 y/o Ligue 1 ace as potential replacement for 19-cap international

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl in animated mode

Southampton are monitoring Angers left-back Souleyman Doumbia ahead of the summer transfer window, as revealed by Football Insider.

What’s the latest news on Doumbia?

We could see the end of an era at Southampton this summer – Ryan Bertrand looks set to depart the club when his contract expires, ending a seven-year spell in which he’s helped Saints reach a cup final, qualify for the Europa League and stave off relegation to the Championship.

The Saints have identified Doumbia as a player who could replace the experienced full-back, although they may face competition for his signature from Lyon and Nice.

How has he fared at Angers this season?

The Ivorian international has featured regularly for the Ligue 1 side this season, making 26 appearances and providing one assist, as per WhoScored.

He appears to read the game well, which has helped him make 42 interceptions in France’s top division. Only Jan Bednarek (78) has made more for Southampton this year.

Doumbia’s consistent displays have played a part in lifting Angers into mid-table, with the club comfortably above the relegation zone and set for another season in Ligue 1.

Would he be a suitable replacement for Bertrand?

Whilst Bertrand holds the clear advantage in experience, having won the Champions League with Chelsea and received 19 caps for England, this season’s statistics suggest that Doumbia is ready to take over from the 31-year-old.

The younger full-back appears to offer more from an attacking point of view – he has completed 25 successful dribbles and made 18 key passes. Bertrand only has three successful dribbles and 14 key passes to his name.

Doumbia can also hold his own defensively, with his tally of interceptions putting him above Bertrand’s total (30). All this has led to Doumbia earning an average match rating of 6.63 from WhoScored, whereas Bertrand has been given an average mark of 6.41.

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Would this fix a potential problem for Hasenhuttl?

It certainly would. 

Bertrand has been the side’s first-choice left back for much of this season, and his imminent exit could leave the club without a natural replacement.

He recently missed Southampton’s game against Tottenham, with Mohammed Salisu filling in for him. This was only the second time that Salisu had played left-back in his career. The first time did not end well, as Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men slipped to a 5-2 defeat against Manchester City, and this match did not go much better, with Spurs claiming a 2-1 win.

This indicates that Salisu is not a long-term solution for this position, and that Hasenhuttl needs to bring in a fully-fledged full-back in the summer.

Doumbia appears to be a suitable candidate, having played a full season in one of Europe’s major leagues this year. At 24, it seems likely that he will enter his prime soon, and Southampton could see the best of him, whilst resolving a potential positional headache for Hasenhuttl in the process.

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