Why Southampton signing Aaron Long would be a good move
According to Sky Sports News, English outfit Southampton has been offered a chance to sign United States of America defender Aaron Long with the January transfer window around the corner.
The New York Red Bulls centre-back was earlier linked with a move to another English side-West Ham United in the summer.
Unfortunately, the deal did not become a reality as Long was denied a work permit.
However, since establishing his name as a regular within the American national side, the Major League Soccer (MLS) 2018 Defender of the Year can now make a move to England when the window opens in January.
Meanwhile, Southampton are in the most difficult of positions, as they hover in the relegation zone, one place ahead of bottom-placed Norwich.
The Saints have lost eight games from a total of 12 matches this season and look like clear favourites to get relegated if their poor run of form continues.
It has been a terrible start to the season for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side, who have failed to win their last four home games.
The side’s defensive weaknesses have been clearly exposed as they remain the only side to concede 29 goals this season.
No other team has conceded more goals and it calls for drastic measures from the Saints’ Austrian gaffer, who replaced Mark Hughes in December last year.
Ralph’s side also suffered one of the most humiliating defeats in the Premier League in recent times – a 9-0 thrashing at the hands of second-placed Leicester City.
The defeat was followed by two more defeats – one against defending champions Manchester City and another to a 15th-placed Everton.
With things not going according to plan for the Saints, it’s high time Ralph and his emissaries found a solution to their ongoing defensive woes.
The Austrian manager has also received heavy criticism for his continuous rotation of players, especially in the back-four, thereby raising concerns amongst the Southampton supporters, as claimed by The Telegraph.
With the team struggling to establish an identity for itself after its poor displays, Saints targeting American defender Long seems to be a move in the right direction.
Southampton centre-backs Jannik Vestergaard and Jan Bednarek have failed to put up a good display till now and Long’s inclusion would surely offer more choices in defence.
However, it remains to be seen if Long, who has played his entire career in America would be able to cope with the physical demands of the Premier League, where the game is faster and tougher.
With 117 matches, 8 goals and 2 assists for the Bulls, Long is not someone new to the game and would be keen to prove his credentials if a move to England occurs.
With a $6m release clause, Long is certainly an affordable candidate to add more strength to Southampton’s backline.
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However, with Southampton having as many as five centre-backs in their squad already, the inclusion of one more would certainly raise a few eyebrows within the footballing circles.
All said and done, Long would certainly provide Ralph with more options to choose in defence. The Bulls defender’s 14 games and two goals for his national side would also put him in high stead if Saints decide to purchase him.