Why Southampton should make a move for Joakim Maehle in January
Back in January, the Daily Mail had claimed that Southampton were interested in signing Genk right-back Joakim Maehle as the club looked to sell Cedric Soares. In the end, the Saints did farm out Cedric on loan to Inter Milan but they failed to sign Joakim Maehle.
Cedric, 28, was deemed surplus to requirements at St. Mary’s by manager Ralph Hasenhuttl and the Saints shipped him out on loan to Inter Milan in January, with the Italian giants having the option to buy him permanently at the end of the season.
But Inter didn’t take up the option and the Portuguese returned to Southampton in the summer.
Interestingly, the 28-year-old has been a part of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s squad and made his return to the starting XI against Manchester United.
Cedric was poor on Saturday as he found very difficult to cope with the raw pace of Daniel James. The young United winger tormented him time and again, scoring a peach of a goal by cutting inside from the left flank in the first half.
That performance further documented Cedric’s inability to defend against strong, pacey players on his flank.
Hence, the Portuguese international is rightfully playing second-fiddle to academy graduate Yan Valery, who has really come of age and has done a terrific job in the Premier League under Hasenhuttl.
After helping the Saints survive the drop, Hasenhuttl should look to do better this season. However, if we look at the quality of his squad, the Austrian tactician should sign a new right-back in January.
Cedric isn’t up to the level to really cover and compete with Valery, even though he has good Premier League experience. Thus, Hasenhuttl should offload Cedric in January and replace him with Joakim Maehle.
Joakim Maehle, 22, had a solid last campaign with Genk, scoring two goals and supplying further five assists in 30 Jupiler Pro League games.
The Demark Under-21 international, who can also play in the midfield, has been a regular for Genk since signing from Aalborg in 2017 and his last campaign’s performances caught Hasenhuttl’s eyes.
The 22-year-old would be a good fit at Southampton. As a full-back, he is an attack-minded player who loves to go forward, deliver crosses into the box and trackback when required. With five assists last season, we can say he has the knack of creating chances for his teammates.
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While Maehle’s offensive traits are undoubted, his ability to read games and positional awareness makes him a very good defender as well. All in all, the Dane could be the perfect replacement for the inconsistent Cedric, whilst being ideal to compete with Valery at St. Mary’s.
It could take some time for Maehle to adjust to the Premier League but once he does, he will be an asset to Southampton.