Why Southampton should make a move for Willi Orban in January
Back in January, the Daily Echo had claimed that Southampton were interested in signing RB Leipzig defender Willi Orban. However, a deal never materialised and the central defender helped RB Leipzig achieve a third-place finish in the Bundesliga.
Willi Orban, 26, has been a consistent defender for Leipzig ever since he joined from FC Kaiserlautern in 2015. Now under new manager Julian Nagelsmann, he is expected to be the club’s defensive lynchpin as Leipzig aims to challenge Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund for the Bundesliga title this season.
As far as Southampton are concerned, they invested heavily in bolstering their attack in the transfer market.
Che Adams and Moussa Djenepo arrived at St. Mary’s from Birmingham City and Standard Liege respectively, while the Saints also signed Danny Ings permanently from Liverpool after he impressed on loan last season.
Despite knowing Southampton’s defensive struggles that almost relegated them last term, Ralph Hasenhuttl surprisingly chose only to sign 20-year-old Kevin Danso on a season-long loan from FC Augsburg.
Danso is a young player with immense potential but it remains to be seen how quickly he adapts to the fast-paced nature of Premier League football.
The Saints must avoid another relegation dogfight but the lack of defensive reinforcements means Hasenhuttl could have a difficult season ahead of him. In order to achieve a mid-table finish, Hasenhuttl should reignite his interest in Willi Orban and attempt to sign him when the January transfer window opens.
Orban is a natural leader and a fantastic organiser of defence. He likes to be physically dominant against centre-forwards and read the game well from the defensive point of view.
The Hungary international is strong aerially, can make good interceptions, is good at passing the ball out from the back and is a genuine threat from set-pieces in the opposition box.
The Saints need a reliable defender to play besides Jannik Vestergaard and Jan Bednarek in a three-man defence, with Maya Yoshida and Wesley Hoedt not good enough to play week in and week out. Orban could be that player as he would also add some stability and balance to the Southampton defence.
Knowing Leipzig will play Champions League football this season, it’ll be tough for Southampton to sign Orban. All hopes will be pinned on Hasenhuttl, though, having managed the 26-year-old at Leipzig.