Why Southampton should be quick to secure the future of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg
According to the Evening Express, Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has expressed his hope that midfielder and designated captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg commits his future to the club by putting pen to paper on fresh terms before the end of the ongoing campaign.
The 24-year-old still has just more than 18 months remaining on the five-year deal that he signed while joining Southampton from Bayern Munich back in the summer of 2016 but the Saints are apparently keen to secure his future with a long-term contract before next summer, by which time he would be having just 12 months left to run.
Nathan Redmond silenced all speculations over his future by signing a new contract back in August and Hasenhutt seemingly wants the Danish international to follow suit.
The 24-year-old has established himself as one of the key players under the Austrian’s reign at St. Mary’s and it is pretty easy to see why a new deal would make perfect sense for the Saints.
Hojbjerg struggled to establish himself as an undisputed starter in the Premier League in his first couple of seasons at the club but he has really stepped up his game since the arrival of Hasenhuttl, who has shown a lot of faith in his abilities in central midfield, while also handing him the armband.
With 4 goals and 3 assists to his name in 31 Premier League appearances in the previous campaign, the tenacious midfielder enjoyed his most productive campaign at St. Mary’s the last term and he has already hit the ground running with a number of impressive performances this season, starting three out of Southampton’s first four games in the Premier League thus far.
Tactically speaking, Hojbjerg has proven himself to be a tailor-made fit for Hasenhuttl’s style of play, which involves pressing the opposition off the ball and quick transition from defence to attack.
The Dane did reasonably well in a back-three system earlier in the manager’s reign and has looked equally comfortable in the newly-established 4-2-2-2 system, with the 24-year-old’s well-rounded attributes allowing him to adapt seamlessly to different formations.
To put things into perspective, Southampton should move quickly to secure the long-term future of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg for a number of reasons.
While they have spent big to bring in quality young talents like Che Adams and Moussa Djenepo, the Saints need to keep hold of some of the key existing players at the club and Hojbjerg is certainly within that bracket.
Given that Oriol Romeu is an out-and-out defensive midfielder who excels with his ability to keep the opposition at bay, Hojbjerg has a lot more dynamism about his game, which makes him one of the key driving forces in the middle of the park for the Saints.
A tenacious midfielder with high levels of energy, Hojbjerg is not only proficient in breaking up the play and carrying the ball forward with pace to turn defence into attack but he is also adept at creating opportunities with his passing and vision, not to mention his distance-shooting abilities, which can be a big asset to the team at times.
A tally of 5 goals and 5 assists in 101 appearances in all competitions don’t look all that impressive on paper but Southampton should be wise enough to know that Hojbjerg still has his best years ahead of him.
At 24, he is at a stage in his career where one would expect him to mature into a really wonderful professional, given his natural talent and potential, and Southampton securing his future with a new deal would enable them to build a midfield around him in the years to come.
Also, a new deal for the player is likely to put Southampton in a strong negotiating position should any potential suitor come knocking for his services.
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Suffice to say, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is currently an indispensable asset to Southampton’s midfield and it should be a no-brainer for the Saints to tie him down to fresh and improved terms.