Why Rafael Toloi would be a good addition to Southampton’s squad
Back in September 2018, a report from the Sun had claimed Southampton were interested in signing Atalanta’s Rafael Toloi, but a move didn’t go through.
Rafael Toloi, 28, had a really good last campaign in the Serie A as he helped Atalanta qualify for the Champions League. He has hit the ground running in the new campaign, managing eight appearances across all competitions thus far.
However, the Brazilian’s contract is due to expire at the end of the season and as things stand, he hasn’t been offered a new deal by Atalanta. The Serie A outfit will be reluctant to lose Toloi in midst of the campaign but if they agree on a new deal, he’ll become a free agent in the summer of 2020.
Regardless of a deal happening in January looks bleak, Southampton must test Atalanta’s resolve with a cheeky bid for Toloi.
Southampton were woeful at the back last season, conceding 70 goals. They haven’t been defensively great this season, either, leaking 15 goals in eight games. Ralph Hasenhuttl has made a mistake by not bringing in adequate defensive reinforcements over the summer, even after allowing Wesley Hoedt to leave on loan.
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, the sea coast club must prioritise getting in a central defender during the January transfer window.
To that end, Rafael Toloi would be a good addition to Hasenhuttl’s side. Toloi is a reliable, strong and commanding presence at both ends of the pitch. He likes to be physically dominant against centre-forwards and read the game well from the defensive point of view.
The Brazilian can command his own penalty area with authority and conviction, whilst more than capable of bringing out the ball from the back.
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The 29-year-old likes to keep things tight at the back and can make some vital interceptions for his side. Toloi can make an immediate impact at Southampton as he has the quality to earn a permanent starting spot in central defence alongside the likes of Jan Bednarek and Jannik Vestergaard.
The Brazilian is at the peak of his powers which would make him a solid addition to the Saints’ defensive ranks.
Toloi will not only be a good fit for Hasenhuttl’s brand of attacking football but will also increase competition for places within the Southampton squad.