Why Joakim Maehle would be a smart signing for Southampton
According to Sky Sports, Southampton are keen on signing Genk right-back Joakim Maehle during the January transfer window. Crystal Palace, who are understood to be in the market for a right-back, are also scouting him (h/t Sky Sports).
The Saints tried to sign Joakim Maehle in January 2019 but Genk were not interested in selling during their Europa League campaign, the report adds. However, the Denmark international has continued to impress for Genk this year, assisting thrice in 22 appearances so far this season.
With Maehle putting in solid displays in Belgium week in and week out, Southampton must beat Crystal Palace to the signing of the defender.
Southampton defence’s lacklustre displays have come under scrutiny for the club’s woeful run of form in the first half of the campaign, with Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side having the second-worst defensive record in the Premier League. They are in big trouble and need a miracle from here on to avoid relegation from the top-flight.
It’s a no-brainer for Hasenhuttl to spend in January to reinforce his side, which has registered just four wins so far this season.
None of the defenders has performed consistently and if we take a look at the options Southampton have at the back, it is very limited. Other than signing a centre-back, the Saints boss should also address the right-back area.
Yan Valery has started just one Premier League game since the chastening 9-0 thrashing by Leicester City in October.
He was one of Southampton’s worst performers during that forgettable day and hasn’t quite recovered since. Cedric Soares has started at right-back of late but he is out of contract at the end of the season.
Keeping all that in mind, Southampton signing Joakim Maehle in January would be the right move.
Maehle is an attacking right-back with the ability to bomb forward down the flank and create opportunities for his teammates in the final third. The Dane is equally good defensively, capable of making crucial interceptions for his team.
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As per WhoScored.com, the 22-year-old has made an average of 3.3 tackles, 1.3 interceptions, 1.7 clearances and 0.7 blocks in the Champions League.
He has also registered 0.8 key passes and 2.2 dribbles, whilst completing a 76.1% pass success rate. In the video below, one can get a glimpse of Maehle’s style of play and the qualities he would bring to Southampton if a deal goes through.
Southampton are in deep trouble and must start picking up points during the busy Christmas period. They must solidify their backline if they are to stay in the top-flight and hence, Hasenhuttl should go all out to sign Maehle in the winter transfer window.