Is It Time To Make Matt Targett 1st Choice ?
Wednesday, 19th Jun 2019 08:58
Matt Targett does not seem to be short of offers to move away from St Mary's with Liverpool & Arsenal two alleged suitors, but is it time to cash in or secure his future at Saints.
There is nothing wrong with Ryan Bertrand in the Saints team at present, it cannot be denied that at the start of last season he looked a pale imitation of the player he was in previous years, but he could be excused that given the body blows he had received in that not only had he been dropped from the England squad for the world Cup but as he tuned 29 has probably come to realise that last summer had seen the last chance of a move to a big club pass him by.
In the first half of the campaign he looked jaded and when he picked up an injury that would eventually keep him out of the side for three months you suspected that his heart wasn't in it anymore.
However he returned in February and looked a lot more like the player that he had been in his first four seasons at the club and pretty much kept Matt Targett out of the side for the rest of the term.
Targett though let no one down in his time deputising for Bertrand, he looked a solid player and it was hard on him to be dropped for Bertrand, Ralph Hasenhuttl showed that he can make hard decisions in doing that, other managers might well have kept playing Targett in that he was playing well and not doing anything to warrant dropping, but Ralph clearly felt that Bertrand was the better player or at least more suited to the system.
So now Saints have a dilemma, Bertrand will turn 30 in August and after 5 years great service is entering the twilight of his career, his game is very much about pace, but that pace will start to go and so will his transfer value.
So is it the time to cash in now whilst he has a reasonable value and also getting high wages off the books, not to mention that we have a replacement ready to step in.
Matt Targett though will turn 24 shortly after the season starts and he is at an age where he needs regular first team football and this is a big summer for him, so Saints dilemma is whether they back him now as the first choice left back or face selling him.
The truth is that Ryan Bertrand is still the better player, but the gap is closing between the two and could well start to close up at a faster pace this coming season.
Targett seems to have a lot of suitors including Arsenal, Liverpool & Aston Villa, although the likelihood is only Villa would be able to offer him the opportunity to play many more games than he will get at St Marys in the Premier League.
One likely factor is the playing style of Ralph Hasenhuttl, he has spoken of the way he wants to play and that is with pace and utilising that by playing three at the back, in that respect Bertrand is far more of a wing back and able to bomb forward and get back to defend, Targett is more a traditional left back comfortable in a back four.
He uses the ball more and his ability to play the ball into the channels and cross the ball is very good, but he isn't the up and down player that Ralph would like to see.
So which player is likely to be at St Mary's next season and which one is likely to go ?
I think that it is likely to be Matt Targett who will be leaving, he will command a bigger transfer fee than Bertrand due to his age and certainly seems to be in more demand, that being the case it would bring in much needed funds for the squad to be improved.
However it would mean that the search for a replacement for Ryan Bertrand would have to start almost immediately as with his recent injury issues if Targett left we would have no cover in that position.
It is a good problem to have, but it is a tricky one, ideally Matt Targett would stay, I feel that it could be a breakthrough season for him, but he hasn't got time on his side, he has tasted the Premier League and knows he is up to the standard of it, he needs regular first team football now.
So which one do you thin should stay and which one should go , vote in our poll below.
Photo: Action Images
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