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Southampton In Pole Position To Sign Fleetwood Town Prodigy
Sunday, 2nd Jan 2022 10:29

According to the media Saints are vying with Liverpool & Chelsea to sign Fleetwood Town's James Hill who is expected to leave the club during the January transfer window, but does this story have substance or is it just agent talk ?

The Lancashire club are said to be holding out for a high fee for the 19 year old central defender who with time left on his contract means they are in no rush to sell.

Hill who will turn 20 next week has so far started 38 games in league 1 for the Cod Army plus another 5 as sub, so has experience in competitive football with another 4(1) games in the League cup added to his total.

On the face of it this looks just like the sort of transfer that Saints excel at, finding young players and turning them into Premier League players and you can see why the media would link Saints.

Likewise this would be a deal that would appeal to the player, he realistically could break into the Saints first team whereas at Liverpool or Chelsea he would be light years away from turning out in the Premier League for them.

But the question is why Saints would go for a central defender, they already have 5 on the books who are in and around the first team, Jan Bednarek & Mohammed Salisu are the current pairing with Lyanco and Jack Stephens as back up, not to mention Yan Valery who seems to be being converted to the position and Dynel Simeu who is the same age as Hill and ironically left Chelsea due to a lack of chances, this gives Saints 6 potential options for the centre of defence.

So with so many on the books already why would Saints want another in the position ?

So if we dig deeper than just scratching the surface, there seems to be more against Saints making the signing than for, the player himself might also consider that he will be just as far down the pecking order at St Mary's as he would at Anfield or Stamford Bridge, he has experienced first team football and would he see his development in our academy as a step up on that.

A hard one to call, normally I would say nailed on, but we just seem to have a lot of players in that position at the moment, 3 of whom have joined in the past 18 months.

If Hill did arrive then we would surely have to clear the decks a little and that could see Jack Stephens leaving the club, his contract is up in the summer and Saints could look to get a fee now, although they would only be looking at a few million, given that at the start of this season he was only valued at £4.2 million according to transfermarkt.

Likewise Yan Valery whose contract expires in 2023 could be moved on, his path to his normal position at right back is blocked by both Tino Livramento & Kyle Walker Peters and even a conversion to centre back has a lot of traffic.

His value has dropped drastically from a high of £6.3 million two years ago and approaching 23 his career is at a crossroads, Saints may well look to move him on in this window if they bring in Hill.

Photo: Action Images



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highfield49 added 12:10 - Jan 2
Regardless of players currently on the books if James Hill is a nailed on prospect then of course we should be looking to sign him, if he lives up to his reputation the he'll know that he'll get opportunities at St Mary's.
It may be a complete coincidence but with Sam McQueen, very sadly, having to announce his retirement there is already a gap to fill in the squad. The best of good fortune in the next stage of your life Sam, take the positives and your fighting spirit and all will be good in the years to come.
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underweststand added 13:03 - Jan 2
With barely a handful of the Koeman / Puel names still at the club, Saints are embarking on a huge generational shift and there are some good prospects in the U18/ B teams just eager to get a little game time in Prem.
The emergence of last summers teenage prodigees shows that Ralph is not afraid to give them a chance to turn up and be seen, whilst having to live with the obvious budgetary restrictions in the club.
Young players have a big learning curve when they arrive in the Prem. but fees around the size previously paid our for KWP, Perraud and Salisu surely won't break the bank, and if this lad is as a good as everyone claims, it's worth the effort to get him in.
Whilst our back line is looking a bit more solid, we are short of up-and-coming talent in a CB role (a position that is always difficult to fill) and at present there isn't another Fonte or VvD anywhere in sight.
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Block8 added 14:46 - Jan 2
If we are looking at League 1 for signings, why are we not looking to get some of our, truly promising, youngsters some loan time down there? Lets be honest the B team isn't a good enough level of football for league experience so the good prospects are not getting it!
We don't have a lot of money so lets try to get a better look at what might be our future?
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SaintPaulVW added 09:13 - Jan 3
If you are looking to play a system with 3 CB's then you really need 5 available. Having another on the edge of the squad/ regular under 23 would be sensible.

Having too many good CB's is a problem most teams would welcome.

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Fairweather_Fan added 13:39 - Jan 3
I don't think for one minute that Salisu will still be playing for us in 2 years, so this kid and Simeu will be getting a few games here and there so that hopefully one or both will be able to step in when he goes. Nice to be planning ahead rather than selling Fonte and Van Dijk in the space of a year and not having decent replacements ready.
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