According to a recent report from The Daily Mail, Cedric Soares could be set to leave Southampton this month. The 27-year-old made the move to St Mary’s back in 2015 as a replacement for Liverpool-bound Nathaniel Clyne, yet some unconvincing displays in the last 12 months under both Mark Hughes and Ralph Hasenhuttl has plunged his future at the club into doubt.
And reports suggest that new boss Hasenhuttl is willing to offload the defender this month given his side are reportedly keen on 21-year-old fellow right back Joakim Maehle, yet the Austrian could be set to make his worst decision since taking charge at St Mary’s were he to let Cedric leave this month.
Ultimately, it looks like 21-year-old Maehle has an extremely bright future in the game having burst onto the scene in recent times, with his 27 appearances for Belgian top-flight side Genk last term, and indeed 34 this time round, seemingly attracting the interest of new Saints chief Hasenhuttl.
But having not played in English football before, it will likely take the Denmark Under-21 international some time to adapt and thus adjust to life in the Premier League, and Southampton simply don’t have that time given their current plight, with the club sat just a point and two places above the division’s bottom three.
As such, Maehle would certainly be thrown into the deep end were he to come in as a replacement for Cedric, especially given Yan Valery is the only other natural right back at Southampton – and his red card at the weekend in victory at Leicester City suggests that he might not be a dependable option down the right-hand-side.
Add in the vast amounts of experience Cedric has accumulated during his time at Southampton, and his generally consistent displays at right back in that time, and selling him would surely be a mistake.
Yes, there is no doubting that the Portugal international has endured a testing run of form in the last 12 months, which unsurprisingly has coincided with Southampton’s own struggles against relegation, but one mustn’t forget the level he reached in his first few seasons at St Mary’s in a side that were established in the Premier League’s top ten.
His first season was particularly impressive given he was charged with filling quite the void left by Clyne, doing so brilliantly in helping Ronald Koeman’s men finish sixth in the 2015/16 campaign, before appearing 30 times the season after as Claude Puel’s side again ended up in the top half.
His recent efforts for Southampton may not have been of the highest standard, but cashing in on him and banking on messrs Maehle and Valery to help keep them up appears to be a huge risk, and one that could seriously backfire.
And that is why getting rid of the Euro 2016 winner makes no sense at all, and would represent Hasenhuttl’s worst decision since taking over at St Mary’s at the rear end of 2018.
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