Southampton have joined a clutch of Premier League teams in the race to sign FC Koln defender Timo Hubers this summer.
The Lowdown: Hubers’ career so far
In 2015, the 25-year-old left the Hannover 96 under-19s to join FC Koln II, before returning to Hannover the following year. The 6 foot 2 defender played five seasons for Die Roten before rejoining Koln, but this time for the latter’s first team.
Hubers has made 15 appearances in the Bundesliga this season and has left a great impression on Steffen Baumgart’s defence. As a result, WhoScored have ranked him as Koln’s best player this season, having averaged a 7.13 rating.
However, at the end of the season, Hubers will enter into the final 12 months of his current contract.
The Latest: Saints interested in Hubers
According to the Daily Mail, Newcastle, Leeds and Crystal Palace are all understood to be closely tracking the 25-year-old centre-back, whilst West Ham, Southampton and Championship promotion favourites Fulham are also monitoring his situation.
It is said that the Hammers and the Saints are likely to prioritise bringing in a centre-back during the summer transfer window, with Hubers set to command a £6m fee.
Who has been Southampton's best player this season?
The Verdict: Good for rotation…or maybe more
The central defenders currently at Ralph Hasenhuttl’s disposal are Mohammed Salisu, Jan Bednarek, Jack Stephens and Lyanco. Furthermore, the Saints also have Dynel Simeu, who joined from Chelsea last summer, and his loan deal with Carlisle United is set to expire at the end of May.
However, with Lyanco and Stephens only featuring sporadically this season and with another loan deal potentially in the offing for Simeu, Southampton may well be looking to reshuffle their options at the back in search of more first-team quality.
Therefore, the addition of Hubers could provide Hasenhuttl with a stronger option for rotation – or possibly an immediate first-team starter, with the 25-year-old reportedly tailor-made for the Saints manager’s preference for playing the ball out from the back.
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