Premier League

Southampton must turn to James Tavernier as the ideal replacement for linked-away Cedric

Southampton must turn to James Tavernier as the ideal replacement for linked-away Cedric

According to a recent report from The Sun, Cedric Soares looks set to leave Southampton in this month’s transfer window. The Portugal international made the move to St Mary’s back in the summer of 2015 after a 16-year association with Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon, although struggles for regular game time under new Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has plunged his future into doubt in recent weeks.

And a recent report from The Sun suggests that Hasenhuttl is set to offload the right back to Italian heavyweights Inter Milan as the new Southampton chief seeks to streamline his squad, although Cedric’s imminent departure looks set to leave the Austrian slightly short in the right back department.

As such, the Saints should seek to replace the 27-year-old before next week’s deadline, with Rangers’ James Tavernier the man they must look to land.

The Breakdown

Ultimately, while Cedric has arguably struggled in the last 18 months to produce his best football on the South Coast, there is little doubting that he has been a great servant to the Saints ever since joining the club back in the summer of 2015.

The Portugal international, who helped his country win Euro 2016, came in at a tough time given Southampton sold highly-rated right back Nathaniel Clyne a matter of weeks earlier, yet Cedric more than compensated for his departure with several impressive efforts over the course of his first few seasons at the club.

In fact, the 27-year-old has gone on to appear 119 times for the Saints in all competitions to underline his level of consistency, and while things haven’t been particularly great for both he and indeed the club on the field in recent times, he has continued to give everything for the club.

But with his future seemingly away from St Mary’s, attentions are likely turning to who Hasenhuttl may seek to replace the Portuguese star with, as at the moment Cedric and Yan Valery are the only senior right backs at the South Coast outfit – and with Valery only 19, relying on him between now and the end of the season would be a big risk.

Yet luring the highly-rated and dynamic Tavernier away from Ibrox would give Hasenhuttl another extremely accomplished option in the right back department, not just defensively but going forward as well.

The 27-year-old Rangers man made the move north of the border back in 2015 and has since been an absolute revelation, scoring 35 goals and laying on 53 assists in 177 appearances for the Gers, equating to a direct contribution every 178 minutes.

And for someone who always turns out at right back, very occasionally at wing back but mainly in a natural right back position, that is an extraordinary return to underline just how effective and composed the Englishman is in the final third of the field.

And it’s his ability to get up and down the right flank in Steven Gerrard’s team to impact things in both boxes which might well be of interest to Southampton boss Hasenhuttl – he needs players who are dynamic and show a high-level of intensity, and it appears that Tavernier has got that.

And having done a fine job in buying from Scotland before, albeit chiefly from Celtic in the form of Victor Wanyama, Fraser Forster, and Virgil van Dijk, a move for Tavernier could well reap the rewards just like the aforementioned trio.

As such, with Cedric reportedly (as per The Sun) on his way out of St Mary’s this month, Hasenhuttl must turn his attentions towards Tavernier as the man to replace the Portugal international.

Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!

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