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Could Lyanco Be The Leader At The Back Southampton Need
Monday, 18th Apr 2022 09:49

One highlight of the win over Arsenal on Saturday was the return of Brazilian defender Lyanco after a two month lay off for a hamstring injury, with comparisons to be drawn with an Ex Saints defender could he be the missing link in the defence ?

When Lyanco arrived at St Mary's he was a player that was completely off the radar for most Saints supporters, at 24 years old he had spent most of his career in Italy with various club after leaving Sao Paulo in his native Brazil.

But he didn't find it easy in Italy and he struggled to force his way into the team on a regular basis at Torino and spent half a season on loan at Bologna before returning to the Torino Squad.

At Saints he struggled to get into the team initially as he acclimatised in the UK with the rumour being that he had to learn English and that communication was the biggest obstacle to playing for the first team.

He made his debut for the club at the end of September at Sheffield United in the Carabao Cup and although he was Ok he struggled with the pace of the game and some criticised him.

His full debut came a month later in the same competition when he played the full 90 minutes in the same competition and was outstanding in a draw although Saints went out on penalties.

A few days later came his Premier League debut at Watford, but it was only a few minutes at the end of the game, after a few outings at sub his full debut came at Anfield and it was a baptism of fire in a 4-0 defeat.

But he was now very much part of the squad and had overtaken Jack Stephens in the pecking order, he was outstanding in a 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace and again played a big part of Saints resurgence over the Xmas period, although his season would be interrupted by first a bout of Covid and then a hamstring injury against Coventry which has kept him out until the Arsenal game.

His performance on Saturday reminded me of Dejan Lovren in his one season at St Mary's. a combination of brute force, calm distribution and leading not only by example but organisation.

On Saturday Lyanco talked and gestured his way through the game, something that is missing from not only both Jan Bednarek & Salisu's game, but also Jack Stephens, in fact it has been missing from the Saints back line since Jose Fonte & Virgil Van Dijk were at the club.

Lyanco was 24 when he joined Saints last summer, the same age as Lovren was when he joined in 2013, so that is another comparison that can be drawn, also the Croatian centre back arrived like Lyanco completely under the radar, he had been at Lyon and like Lyanco seemed to be a slow starter, he joined the French club in 2009 aged only 20, but when he joined Saints 4 years later he had amassed only 68 games, most played in the two seasons before his departure.

That is a similar number of games that Lyanco played in Serie A, playing 59 in total across his 4 seasons, again almost half of these came in his last season.

So there are many comparisons that can be drawn between Lyanco & Dejan Lovren, although hopefully the final one won't be that he is an arrogant **** with an inflated opinion of his own talent.

Photo: Action Images

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landerwal added 10:02 - Apr 18
He could be, judging from his performance on Saturday that he is someone who could really organise the defense. That said, we will have the usual teams sniffing round by next January if he is as good as we hope he is.

A1079 added 12:16 - Apr 18
As they say, one swallow does not make a summer. Only time will tell.

highfield49 added 12:25 - Apr 18
He demonstrated a lot of solid attributes against Arsenal and, for obvious reasons, seems much more familiar with the players and the pace of the game. The fact that he was able to organise the defence and have the respect of the team bodes well for the future, it'll be interesting to see how he progresses in the remaining weeks of the season. We can of course only hope that he doesn't start humming "You'll Never Walk Alone" at inappropriate moments.

underweststand added 08:34 - Apr 20
Admittedly it took time for Lyanco to "gell" into the squad and his injury absence didn't help his progress, but his relaxed style also radiates a certain degree of toughness and enthusiasm that I can recall from the likes of Michael Svensson and Jos Hooiveld....(no I'm not comparing their performances), but I'm more impressed after the Arsenal game.

Finding the right combination of CB's isn't easy. Bednarek and Salisu have been the "most popular" in Ralph's start sides, but have not produced the best results, and we still have Jack Stephens on the bench and with Yan Valery also emerging in a new CB role.

There is a lot for Ralph to consider - will he " stick or twist" with this current group, or will we see one of the current quartet departing in the summer?

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