Why Southampton should reignite interest in Hamza Choudhury
However, the Saints eventually turned their attention to other targets in a bid to replenish their options in the middle of the park, with Ibrahima Diallo coming through the door at St. Mary’s from Toulouse before the deadline.
Hamza Choudhury rose through the youth ranks of Leicester City and spent time on loan at Burton Albion, first in League One and then in the Championship, before making his first-team breakthrough for the Foxes during the 2017-18 campaign.
Choudhury hasn’t really been a regular starter for Leicester but has still managed 52 appearances for the East Midlands outfit in all competitions, scoring once in the process. The highly-rated defensive midfielder still has several years remaining on his contract.
Choudhury would add more depth to the Saints’ midfield
Southampton completed early deals for defensive duo Kyle Walker-Peters and Mohammed Salisu in the summer window before wrapping up their transfer business with the acquisition of Ibrahima Diallo from Toulouse before the deadline.
Diallo’s timely arrival at St. Mary’s is expected to ease squad depth issues for Ralph Hasenhuttl in the middle of the park. The Saints had been crying out for a replacement following the departure of star man Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to Tottenham and the talented France U-21 starlet will be gradually phased into the first-team mix in the coming months.
Hojbjerg, though, wasn’t the only midfielder to depart Southampton in the summer. Mario Lemina completed a season-long loan move to PL rivals Fulham while Harrison Reed also joined the Cottagers permanently after guiding them to promotion glory via the Championship playoffs last term.
To that end, Southampton certainly have more than enough room to accommodate another central midfielder in their ranks, despite the arrival of Diallo in the summer. Oriol Romeu and James Ward-Prowse are currently the undisputed starters for the Saints in the middle of the park but there isn’t much depth and quality beyond that.
Putting things into context, Southampton reigniting interest in Hamza Choudhury in January could sort out a nagging issue in a key area of the pitch. The 23-year-old has struggled to establish himself as a regular starter at Leicester due to the presence of Wilfred Ndidi and Youri Tielemans, but his talent and potential have hardly ever been called into question.
A defensive midfielder by trade, Choudhury also has the versatility to play in a slightly advanced box-to-box role. As evident from his heat map in the PL last term, the Foxes graduate excels with his work rate and is more than capable of contributing to both defence and attack. That should make him an excellent fit for Hasenhuttl’s high-pressing system.
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Having played more than 50 times for Leicester’s first-team, Hamza Choudhury ticks the box as a better ready-made replacement for someone like Hojbjerg at Southampton. That’s not to undermine Diallo, but the Saints should ideally look to have two quality young midfielders competing with Ward-Prowse and Romeu for a spot in the team.
The 23-year-old still has his best years ahead of him and going by Hasenhuttl’s excellent track record of maximising the potential of young players, it should be an absolute no-brainer for Southampton to make a renewed attempt to sign the Leicester enforcer in January.