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Rarely does an exchange take place without raising the eyebrows along with murmurs of discontent, usually due to the fact that one of the clubs involved has had a absolute nightmare.
When Southampton agreed to let Pierre-Emile Højbjerg move to Tottenham last summer, they said goodbye to a dependent midfielder who had been a mainstay in their starting XI for the better part of four seasons.
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The Saints received just £ 3 million for Højbjerg, although the deal included young Kyle Walker-Peters coming to St Mary’s; an inexperienced winger with only 22 Premier League appearances to his name.
Oh, how the football world was mocking. “Ralph Hasenhuttl, my friend just pulled your pants down” – less than six months later and the Southampton boss seems to have played a complete blind man.
Walker-Peters is fast becoming an absolutely brilliant right-back, and his energetic displays have become the key to everything good about Southampton’s game.
Last season, Hasenhuttl switched and switched as a right back, and Cedric Soares spent most of the first half of the season as a full back before moving to Arsenal, where he suffered numerous injuries.
Yan Valery was asked to sit there at times, although he was clearly not suitable for a right-back role and thus Hasenhuttl’s hand was forced to play him as a winger with three central defenders, meaning that There was a Need for two defensive midfielders – Højbjerg and Oriol Romeu – to cover the wings in a midfield three.
However, Hasenhuttl clearly saw potential in Walker-Peters during his six-month loan stint at the club, and while the decision to trade Højbjerg for the youngster may not seem fair on paper, the way he has allowed Southampton change your style. from the game to how the Saints boss wants them to play makes perfect sense.
Now Southampton has a reliable full-back right-back, which means the Saints can play four in midfield and there is no requirement for Højbjerg to provide additional coverage – the move has made their midfield look much more balanced with energy. by James Ward. Prow is offset by Romeu’s defensive nous, and suddenly Hasenhuttl doesn’t seem so dumb.
Walker-Peters’ display over Liverpool has been rightly praised, as his efforts played a significant role in keeping the champions at bay, although his performances throughout the season have rarely waned.
Their combative displays and action are exactly what a coach like Hasenhuttl needs for a team to prosper under his leadership, and the balance offered by Ryan Bertrand on the opposite flank has made Southampton a well-trained unit that is difficult to to break. downward and threatening in the future.
It would be wrong to overlook the Spurs’ part of the Walker-Peters deal. While they have eliminated a right-back who clearly exceeded the club’s requirements, they have recruited a quality central midfielder who is a José Mourinho player and has made it to the starting eleven without a problem.
The addition of Matt Doherty in the summer and the appearance of Serge Auerier as a right back (and by ‘appearance’, of course, we mean that Mourinho has taught him to defend, but we’re trying to be good here) means that Walker- Peters have barely had a shred of action with the first team this season and instead have beefed up their midfield with a player much liked by their coach.
Swap deals have come back into vogue a bit late due to the financial restrictions clubs have been subjected to due to the coronavirus pandemic, although to be fair, it’s not surprising that they were nearly extinct due to the fact that they rarely work for both. clubs.
However, this is a rare commodity. Both sides have done absolutely brilliantly since the switch, and Hasenhuttl has once again proven himself to be one of the most astute coaches in the league.