The Lowdown: Southampton’s defensive struggles
With 13 league games played in this campaign, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have conceded 20 goals, leaving only five other clubs in the league with a worse defensive record.
Armel Bella-Kotchap had a superb start to the season but then picked up an injury, leaving just Lyanco, Mohammed Salisu and Duje Caleta-Car as senior options in the heart of the back line.
Taking that into account, it’s easy to see why the south coast club have been linked with a transfer swoop for another defender.
The Latest: A three-way transfer race
According to a recent report from Spain (via Hampshire Live), Southampton have been closely following Mbaye alongside fellow top-flight clubs Leeds United and Brighton & Hove Albion.
The report does reveal however that while the defender’s current contract at Cadiz expires in 2024, the Spanish club are trying to get the player to extend his deal.
The Verdict: A smart move?
Having made 36 appearances for his current club across their senior and youth sides, the 24-year-old, who is aiming to make his senior international debut for Senegal in the upcoming World Cup, has scored four goals and provided one assist.
Despite only making four senior appearances for Cadiz, three of them have come in this current La Liga campaign, and his form may just catch the eye of national coach Aliou Cissé in time for the squad announcement this month.
Across those three league appearances, Mbaye, who has been described as a “quick” and “forceful” defender by journalist Angel Cotan, has managed to average 4.3 clearances per game, which is the second-highest average at the club.
Do Southampton need to sign another defender?
This would give him the third-highest average of clearances per game at Southampton for this Premier League season, which shows how much of a useful figure he could be for the Saints.
Moving forward, given Southampton’s knack of conceding goals, adding a figure like Mbaye to their ranks could be an ideal investment for the club to make, and he shouldn’t cost much if he does not extend his contract.
However, if they do see the defender as a suitable signing for them, they will have to do all they can to beat Leeds and Brighton to his signature.