Southampton Opinion: Why Willi Orban would be a good fit at St Mary’s?
Back in January, the Daily Echo claimed Southampton were interested in signing RB Leipzig captain Willi Orban. However, a move didn’t materialise and the defender stayed with RB Leipzig.
Willi Orban, 26, has been a consistent defender for Leipzig ever since he joined from FC Kaiserlautern in 2015. He helped the German club to a third-placed finish last season, leading from the front under the tutelage of Ralf Rangnick.
The Hungary international is expected to be part of new manager Julian Nagelsmann’s plans for next season, but given the club’s wealth of promising defenders, a departure cannot be ruled out.
Having worked under Ralph Hasenhuttl at the Red Bull Arena, Orban could be tempted to join Southampton if they reignite their interest in him.
Ralph Hasenhuttl, after guiding the Saints to Premier League safety last season, is returning to the club’s actual policy of adding young players of great potential and nurturing them.
The signings of Moussa Djenepo and Che Adams clearly suggest that after the seacoast club’s transfer policy of signing proven players in recent years not working out.
Signing only young players won’t take the Saints to a different level. Hasenhuttl is aware of that and he must also add some experienced heads to his squad to form a strong core at St Mary’s, especially in defence as Southampton were woeful at the back in 2018/19.
Even after spending big on Wesley Hoedt and Jannik Vestergaard, the sea coast club’s defensive woes seem to have no solution. Maya Yoshida was also poor last season and clearly can be upgraded on.
Jan Bednarek was the rare bright spark at the back in the second half of 2018/19 and Hasenhuttl should prioritise bringing in a reliable centre-half to partner the Pole.
Willi Orban would be a fantastic fit at St Mary’s. The 26-year-old is a natural leader and would finally add some stability and balance to the Southampton defence.
An excellent tackler, the former Germany youth international reads the game very well, is aerially strong as well as an asset to have during set-pieces.
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He has the ability to play out from the back and his composure on the ball means the 26-year-old can also operate as a defensive midfielder if needed.
All in all, Orban’s leadership qualities, strength, aerial ability and intelligent positioning would significantly improve Southampton.
It is going to be hard to convince Leipzig to part ways with their captain, who has been a key cog for the last few years now. But Hasenhuttl must do everything possible to join hands with his former protégé at Southampton ahead of the new campaign.