Thiago Mendes would be a fantastic signing for Southampton
A product of Brazilian club Goias, Mendes played for his boyhood club from 2010 to 2014 before joining giants Sao Paulo in 2015. After tasting commendable success in the Brazilian Serie A, Mendes made his way to Europe at the start of last season with Ligue 1 outfit Lille.
The 26-year-old established himself as a regular in the first-team in his debut season, accumulating 3 goals and 4 assists from 27 starts in the Ligue 1. He has been in fine form this term as well, earning two man-of-the-match distinctions from 17 outings I the French top flight.
Standing at 5ft. 9 inches with a stocky frame, Mendes is not capable of beating his offensive counterparts to the aerial balls but he makes up for it with his technical abilities, drive, tenacity and flawless passing. The Brazilian has a good range of passing and can dictate the tempo of the game in the middle of the park, operating as the main distribution point in the midfield.
The 26-year-old is also known for his ability to win possession back for his team, breaking up the play with crucial tackles and interceptions. He has the vision to switch the play and change the point of the attack, thus providing the vital link between the defence and the attack.
Mendes has averaged 55.5 passes per game with an accuracy percentage of 83, including 2.2 key passes, 2.5 long balls and 1.9 crosses per game in the Ligue 1 this term.
To put things into perspective, he would be an ideal buy for Southampton, with the Saints in dire need to new faces to resurrect their lacklustre Premier League campaign.
Ralph Hasenhuttl has changed the complexion of the team to some extent after taking over the reins from Mark Hughes. A few positive results in recent weeks have given the Saints a chance of avoiding the drop but they need to dip into the transfer market to find players who can help them in their bid for survival.
Although Southampton need a striker and a creative midfielder to score more goals, they should not neglect a player like Thiago Mendes as he has all the attributes to add stability to the centre of the park.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Mario Lemina have done quite well in central midfield this season, however, Lemina’s lack of defensive awareness has been exposed time and again. On the other hand, someone like Mendes would also be an upgrade on Oriol Romeu, who hasn’t really hit the ground running this term.
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That said, the Saints should go all out to sign him in January as he might turn out to be a good long-term servant at St. Mary’s.