Why Southampton should go for Marlon Santos in January
Back in July 2018, a report from the Sport had claimed that Southampton were very close to signing Marlon Santos from Barcelona. However, a deal didn’t go through and the defender ended up signing for Italian outfit Sassuolo a month later.
Marlon, 24, joined Barcelona from Fluminense in the summer of 2017 after an impressive season with Barcelona B ended with two first-team appearances. However, the competition for a first-team spot was too strong and the Catalan giants decided to cash in on the centre-back.
The Brazilian defender had a start-stop debut season at Sassuolo, as injuries limited him to just 18 Serie A appearances. The Neroverdi have not enjoyed a good start to the new Serie A campaign under Roberto De Zerbi, with his team winning just two out of first six games.
As far as Southampton are concerned, they are yet to garner momentum this season with just seven points in seven games. Things aren’t looking rosy at the moment for Ralph Hasenhuttl and he’ll need to quickly turnaround things to keep hold of his job at St. Mary’s.
The Saints huffed and puffed before beating relegation last season. They cannot afford another relegation skirmish and in a bid to avoid that, Hasenhuttl should prioritise bolstering his defence in the January transfer window. None of the defenders have consistently performed so far this season that has seen Southampton concede 11 goals in seven games.
That’s where signing a new central defender makes absolute sense and the Saints would be wise to reignite interest in Marlon.
Santos is an excellent all-around defender blessed with technical skills, pace and strength in the air. With his ball-playing abilities, he can initiate attacks from the back. In addition to that, the Brazilian can also be deployed as a right-back and is perhaps more suited to play on the right side of a three-man defence.
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The 24-year-old would be the perfect option for Southampton as he can initially provide cover for the likes of Jannik Vestergaard, Maya Yoshida and Jan Bednarek while adapting to the Premier League without being thrown into obscurity.
Marlon has all the skills required of a modern-day centre-back and due to his excellent stamina and technical skills, he could be a great success in the Premier League.
Hence, it’s an absolute no-brainer for Southampton to reconsider signing Marlon during the winter transfer window as he could make an instant impact for Hasenhuttl’s side.