Southampton supporters have been pretty downbeat in recent times after seeing their team bow out of the FA Cup at the hands of lower league opposition on Wednesday night.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men went into their encounter with Championship outfit Derby County having drawn 2-2 with the Rams at Pride Park earlier in the month, thus instigating a replay between the two teams at St Mary’s on Wednesday. And while the Saints found themselves 2-0 up thanks to goals from Stuart Armstrong and Nathan Redmond, Frank Lampard’s side hit back as strikes from Harry Wilson and Martyn Waghorn forced extra time and then a penalty shoot-out, from which the Rams prevailed 5-3 to book their place in the last-32.
As such, there have been many despondent Southampton fans up and down the country in recent times, with the performance of Cedric Soares on Wednesday night unlikely to thrill those supporters, what with the 27-year-old far from his best against the second tier outfit.
And with the right back having been linked with a move away from St Mary’s this month, his time at Southampton could well be over, but there is little doubting that the Euro 2016 winner has made an absolute mockery of the measly £6.3 million (as per Transfermarkt) the club paid Sporting Lisbon for him back in 2015.
Ultimately, the 27-year-old was given the hugely unenviable task of trying to replace Liverpool-bound Nathaniel Clyne in the Saints side three-and-a-half years ago, what with the latter proving to be an outstanding right back during his time at St Mary’s to thus earn a move to Anfield.
And many Southampton fans may have been slightly concerned when their side only splashed out £6.3 million to replace the right back, but what a £6.3 million deal that has proven to be given Cedric has certainly gone some way to filling that void left by Clyne’s exit.
The defender appeared 24 times in the Premier League in his first season at the club as Ronald Koeman’s men brilliantly finished sixth in the division, while the Portugal international then added 30 appearances the campaign after in their run to eighth place under Claude Puel.
Significantly, not only did Cedric nail down the right back spot almost immediately, but he didn’t relinquish it as a result of consistently high-level performances down the Southampton right-hand-side – be it defensively against some of the trickiest wingers in the league, or indeed going forward and seeking to aid in attack, the 27-year-old could do it all.
As such, there was talk about a possible move for Cedric to a Premier League giant in years gone by such was the level he produced for Southampton, yet he hasn’t quite been able to reach that level recently in a Saints side that have declined rapidly to a team fighting for their Premier League survival.
He may have remained a regular last season in their run to 17th place in the table, but Cedric certainly wasn’t as effective down the right-hand-side, and that has somewhat translated into this term given he has again unconvinced on many occasions.
Whether selling him this month, if that’s what transpires, is the right call very much remains to be seen, but one mustn’t forget the level of service he has given Southampton over the years – he came in at a difficult time following Clyne’s departure, and very much surprised many by filling that void at right back.
As such, while recent times haven’t seen the 27-year-old produce his best level, there’s no doubt that his 118 appearances and ten assists for the club have seen him make an absolute mockery of that lowly £6.3 million price-tag.
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