Why Southampton should reignite their interest in Pavel Kaderabek
Back in 2016, a report from Wales Online suggested that West Ham and Southampton were among the Premier League to have registered an interest in Pavel Kaderabek, who was then plying his trade with Czech giants Sparta Prague.
However, nothing came to fruition back then and Kaderabek was eventually snapped up by Bundesliga outfit 1899 Hoffenheim, where he has carved out a massive reputation for himself over the past four seasons.
Kaderabek reached great heights in a right wing-back role under former manager Julian Nagelsmann and was one of the key architects of Hoffenheim’s back-to-back top-four finishes in the Bundesliga in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 campaigns.
Hoffenheim weren’t able to make much of an impression in the Champions League last season and crashed out of the competition in the group stages but the 27-year-old Czech Republic international caught the eye with his impressive all-round displays, earning plenty of plaudits for his tireless work-rate and intelligent movement up and down the pitch.
Unsurprisingly, Kaderabek has continued his rich vein of form under new manager Alfred Schreuder, with the right wing-back already scoring and assisting one apiece in his team’s first six league fixtures this term.
The 27-year-old boasts of a tally of 10 goals and 14 assists in 130 appearances for Hoffenheim in all competitions and while that might not look overly impressive on paper, any follower of the Bundesliga would know that he is arguably one of the best wing-backs around in Europe.
To put things into perspective, Paven Kaderabek is very much in his prime years and Southampton reigniting interest in the 27-year-old could potentially help Ralph Hasenhuttl solve a nagging issue in a key area of the pitch.
The Austrian manager has made an arduous attempt to build a squad in his own image at St.Mary’s by bringing in talented youngsters like Moussa Djenepo and Che Adams, while exciting academy prospects like Michael Obafemi and Yan Valery have also enjoyed a lot more involvement since the second half of the previous campaign.
Despite that, however, Hasenhuttl still finds himself short of quality personnel to implement his preferred back-three system, with the lack of specialist wing-backs proving to be a major stumbling block.
He has often been forced to switch to a back-four system due to injuries but if Hasenhuttl feels that playing a back-three is the way forward, then he might as well consider bringing in a quality wing-back to provide cover and competition for youngster Yan Valery.
Given that Cedric Soares is not really a good fit in a wing-back role and Valery has somewhat struggled with injuries, Hasenhuttl has been forced to field James Ward-Prowse as a makeshift wing-back on the right-hand side of the pitch on a number of occasions, a gamble that hasn’t paid any dividends whatsoever.
As well as the fact that Ward-Prowse has often looked like a square peg in a round hole at wing-back, it is worth mentioning that he is one of Southampton’s key creative outlets and fielding him in an unfamiliar role is simply a waste of his abilities.
To that end, an established wing-back like Pavel Kaderabek would provide Hasenhuttl with the right kind of personnel to implement his back-three system smoothly and the Czech Republic international’s wealth of Bundesliga experience means that it shouldn’t be difficult for him to cope with the challenge of playing in teh Premier League.
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Hasenhuttl, who managed RB Leipzig a few years back, is likely to be aware of Kaderabek’s qualities from his managerial days in the Bundesliga and Southampton completing a move for the 27-year-old would definitely solve a lot of headaches for the Austrian.
With that in mind, it should be an absolute no-brainer for the Saints to go back in the market for the Hoffenheim man.