Wesley Hoedt departing Southampton on loan makes perfect sense
The 25-year-old Dutch international started 13 games in the Premier League in the first half of the previous campaign under former manager Mark Hughes before being shipped out on loan to La Liga outfit Celta Vigo in January following the arrival of Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Hoedt, who made his move to the English south coast from Lazio back in the summer of 2017 for a fee of £15 million, was one of the mainstays of the backline for the Saints in the 2017-18 campaign under Mauricio Pellegrino but frequent managerial changes at the club has pushed him down the pecking order.
The 6-cap Dutch international didn’t make even a single appearance for the Saints in the opening stages of the ongoing campaign and it was pretty clear that he didn’t have a future at St. Mary’s.
As evident from his team selection thus far this term, Hasenhuttl has chosen to show more confidence in the likes of Jannik Vestergaard, Jan Bednarek, Jack Stephens, Maya Yoshida and Kevin Danso.
Hoedt was frozen out of the first-team picture ever since the start of the Austrian’s reign and a second successive loan move for the centre-back hardly comes as a big surprise.
The 25-year-old still has three years remaining on his current contract at the club, however, given the depth in the existing defensive options at St. Mary’s, coupled with the manager’s unwillingness to use him, a temporary move away seems like the best solution for all parties.
The Dutchman, though, isn’t the only big-money signing who has been deemed surplus to requirements by Hasenhuttl this summer.
Mohamed Elyounoussi moved north of the border on loan to Scottish champions Celtic, while Mario Lemina also joined Turkish giants Galatasaray on a season-long loan deal on deadline day.
To put things into perspective, it is pretty easy to figure out that Hoedt’s prospect of playing regularly in the Premier League this season looked bleak and a loan move elsewhere should allow him to keep his career moving in the right direction with regular minutes.
A move to Belgium, however, represents a drop down to a lower league for Hoedt, who had previously featured for AZ Alkmaar in the Eredivisie and Lazio in the Serie A before his move to Southampton in 2017.
Although the level of competition in Belgium is quite decent, Hoedt’s success over there probably won’t help him regain his place in Southampton’s first-team fold.
Well, he might not be able to do it anyway as long as Hasenhuttl is at the helm of affairs, given that he apparently doesn’t feature in the Austrian’s plans.
Hoedt, though, should take heart from the comeback of Sofiane Boufal under Hasenhuttl.
The Moroccan’s future at Southampton looked dead and buried but the manager has given him another chance to prove his credentials in the Premier League, meaning that the doors might not be completely shut for Hoedt to make a return to the first-team once his loan deal expires.
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However, for the time being, a loan move looks like a fair settlement for all parties.