Southampton’s Nathan Redmond is one of the most frustrating players at the club: he is clearly blessed with immense potential but his natural ability is yet to translate into consistent performances in the Premier League.
It feels like Redmond has threatened to blossom into a devastating wing-wizard for years now, but he is still only 24-years-old. Whilst he still has time to prove himself at this level, the Premier League is notoriously impatient and does not wait around for players and managers who continue to fall below a certain standard.
Mark Hughes clearly admires Redmond’s ability as he has selected him from the outset for all 4 of Southampton’s fixtures so far this season, although he is yet to make a decisive impact in the final-third with a goal or an assist.
But there is a growing feeling that Redmond needs to add goals and assists to his game to justify his regular inclusion in Southampton’s first-team, especially now the club are blessed with the presence of a quality poacher in Danny Ings.
With that being said, it’s likely that Southampton scouts will be keeping a close eye on wingers who could potentially arrive at St Mary’s in order to challenge Redmond for a starting berth if he fails to improve during the 2018/19 campaign.
And one player they should certainly have their eye on is Hertha Berlin’s Valentino Lazaro.
The Austrian prodigy is widely regarded as one of the most exciting young talents in the Bundesliga so it was no surprise that Hertha turned his loan deal into a permanent one for a small fee of just £5.85 million earlier in the summer.
Averaging at a key pass in every fixture last season, Lazaro was one of the club’s most dangerous attacking outlets on the right-wing.
Although he is certainly blessed with a decent level of pace Lazaro relies on his quick-feet and guile in the final-third to bypass his opponents.
His record of 5 assists and 2 goals from 28 appearances last season is far from groundbreaking but it offers an improvement on Redmond’s return of 1 goal and 3 assists from 31 appearances during the same campaign.
Consider the fact Lazaro is also two years younger than Redmond and it seems clear that he is a talent who should be firmly on Southampton’s radar.
Lazaro began the new campaign with an assist inside 30 minutes against FC Nuremberg as he danced past Tim Leibold to reach the byline before he put the ball on a silver platter for Vedad Ibisevic to score the only goal of the game at the Olympiastadion.
The early signs suggest that Lazaro is a player who is blessed with the attributes which form an electric Premier League winger, so if things don’t work out for Redmond this season then the Southampton recruitment team should strongly consider replacing him with Hertha’s emerging talent – even if they are forced to pay a price well in excess of the £5.85 million he cost this summer.
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