Why Oriol Romeu signing a new contract is great news for Southampton
According to a report by Daily Mail, Oriol Romeu has signed a contract renewal at Southampton to extend his stay until 2023. The 29-year-old former Chelsea midfielder was in the final few months of his contract but has now agreed to extend his stay at the Saints until the summer of 2023.
The deal comes after Southampton’s flying start to the new season, of which Romeu has been an integral part. (h/t Daily Mail)
Born in 1991 in Spain, Oriol Romeu joined Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy at the age of just 12. The Spanish defensive midfielder got the call up to Barcelona’s senior side in 2010, but only made one appearance for them before joining Chelsea in the summer of 2011.
Romeu made 16 league appearances in his first season at Chelsea but fell down the pecking order in the following seasons. He was loaned out for two seasons before the Spaniard signed a permanent deal with Southampton in 2015, where he has stayed ever since.
Oriol Romeu is a vital part of the Saints’ midfield
Romeu is the sixth longest-serving player in the Southampton squad and has gone on to make 198 appearances over for the Saints since he joined them in 2015. He has one of the most consistently available players in the Southampton squad, having never had an injury while employed by the club.
His availability is not the only good thing about him. The defensive midfielder has averaged 2.62 tackles with a tackle success rate of 68% in his 198 appearances for the Saints. The Spanish midfielder also averages 6.2 ball recoveries per match.
This solidity and steel that Romeu provides in the midfield are vital for the creative midfielders to do their job upfront without worrying too much about the defensive aspects of their game.
Romeu renewing his contract was vital to Hasenhuttl’s plans
Romeu has started every game this season for Southampton. Sitting in a two-man central midfield, Romeu and James Ward-Prowse have formed the ideal playmaker-defensive midfielder duo.
This midfield pairing has been vital for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s 4-4-2 formation where he can rely on Romeu to not let Southampton’s midfield be overrun easily. Hasenhuttl has clearly found the formula to make Southampton a contender for European spots again, and losing Oriol Romeu would have disturbed the balance in the squad.
The Spaniard was in the last few months of his contract. With clubs wanting to sign players in the upcoming transfer window due to injuries and fixture congestion, it was imperative for Southampton to tie down their midfield anchor before the new year.
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Southampton themselves have a condensed fixture list and a very thin midfield lineup. Youngsters Will Smallbone and new signing Ibrahima Diallo are the only backups to their starting midfielders. Hence, retaining Romeu was vital to Southampton’s plans for the next couple of years. And they have done the right thing by extending the Spaniard’s contract.