Southampton team news: £13.5m talent "most obvious" starting XI change this weekend


Journalist Tom Barclay thinks that Ibrahima Diallo is the obvious choice to replace James Ward-Prowse against Leeds this weekend.

Southampton will be without their captain for the visit of Marcelo Bielsa's side after his red card against Chelsea means he's serving the first of a three-game suspension.

Therefore, Ralph Hasenhuttl will have to name a replacement for the game at St Mary's and Barclay  reckons that 22-year-old Diallo is the obvious choice.

What's the latest news with Diallo?

Diallo, valued at £13.5m by Transfermarkt, is yet to start in the Premier League this season but has come off the bench in five of the  Saints' matches and played the second-half at Chelsea earlier this month, which makes him the most likely candidate to step in for Ward-Prowse.

The youngster has started twice this season, although both of those came in the Carabao Cup against Newport and Sheffield United. Diallo did impress in the second of those, however, scoring Southampton's second against the Blades before also netting in the penalty shoot-out.



But starting in the league for the first time since the final day of last season would be a huge step up in quality for Diallo, who has played 27 times in the competition since joining Southampton from Brest in 2020, although the majority of those have been as a substitute.

However, Barclay is expecting Diallo to replace Ward-Prowse and sit alongside Oriol Romeu as Saints go in search of their first league victory of the campaign.

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What did Barclay say?

He told GIVEMESPORT: "Diallo would be the most obvious replacement, obviously Ward-Prowse gives you a lot more in a lot of ways.

"Diallo is good at carrying the ball, maybe that's one of his better attributes than Ward-Prowse, but set-piece delivery, the way he lifts the team, dictates the tempo."

Is Diallo likely to start?

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With Southampton in a very difficult moment and an alarming league position, now isn't the time to experiment.

Hasenhuttl might see the returning Stuart Armstrong as another option, but his best position is out wide, which should pave the way for Diallo to be presented with his first league start since May.

Diallo is still relatively new to the Premier League, but he should benefit from playing alongside an extremely experienced figure in Romeo if he does get the nod.

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