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Southampton signing this highly-rated 18-year-old would be smart investment by Hasenhuttl

Anderlecht's Marco Kana pictured in action during a friendly soccer game between Belgian team RSC Anderlecht and Scottish Livingston F.C., Saturday 11 January 2020 in San Pedro Del Pinatar, Spain, at their winter training camps. BELGA PHOTO VIRGINIE LEFOUR (Photo by VIRGINIE LEFOUR/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Why Southampton should sign Marco Kana with one eye on the future

According to claims from Italian outlet Calciomercato (h/t MSN), Southampton are keeping close tabs on versatile Belgian starlet Marco Kana, who currently plies his trade with Anderlecht in his homeland. 

The 18-year-old is held in high regard by Man City legend and current Anderlecht manager Vincent Kompany, who has singled out the teenager as a younger version of himself

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Born in DR Congo, Marco Kana moved to Belgium at a young age and rose through the youth ranks of Anderlecht. He represented the club across various age-group levels before making his first-team breakthrough in the previous campaign, finishing the 2019-20 season with 17 appearances in all competitions. 

The 18-year-old has featured more prominently for Anderlecht in the top-flight this term, starting 4 out of the club’s 13 league fixtures so far. Kana has featured for Belgium across various age-group levels between U-16 and U-21 but remains uncapped at the senior international level.

Essevee’s Dimitri Oberlin and Anderlecht’s Marco Kana fight for the ball during a soccer match between SV Zulte Waregem and RSC Anderlecht, Friday 08 November 2019 in Waregem, on day 14 of the ‘Jupiler Pro League’ Belgian soccer championship season 2019-2020. BELGA PHOTO VIRGINIE LEFOUR (Photo by VIRGINIE LEFOUR/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Southampton would benefit from Kana’s potential

Traditionally one of the most reputed clubs in English football for youth development, Southampton have returned to their basics since the appointment of Ralph Hasenhuttl. The Austrian’s reign at St. Mary’s has already witnessed the arrival of some exciting young talent in the form of Moussa Djenepo, Che Adams, Ibrahima Diallo and Mohammed Salisu. 

With that in mind, a potential deal for Marco Kana in January or next summer would see Southampton continuing their policy of scouring the continent for quality up and coming talents. The Belgian is already rubbing shoulders with the senior pros at 18, which clearly illustrates a level of maturity that belies his tender years as a footballer. 

Described as calm, intelligent and good on the ball by ESPN, Kana’s versatility is undoubtedly one of his key assets. The teenager has looked comfortable operating at centre-back and also in a defensive midfield role, while he has also been utilised further up the pitch as a central midfielder. 

Oostende’s Robbie D’Haese and Anderlecht’s Marco Kana fight for the ball during a soccer match between KV Oostende and RSC Anderlecht, Friday 28 August 2020 in Oostende, on day 4 of the ‘Jupiler Pro League’ first division of the Belgian championship. (Photo by KURT DESPLENTER/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Southampton can certainly do with more cover in defence and midfield moving forward, thus justifying the club’s interest in Kana. The 18-year-old might not be the finished article capable of making an immediate impression in the Premier League but his talent and potential can hardly be called into question. 

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Verdict

Marco Kana has already started to deliver on his potential in Belgium under the watchful eyes of Kompany at Anderlecht. A potential move to Southampton would see him further his development under Hasenhuttl, who boasts an excellent track record when it comes to nurturing youngsters.

Realistically, though, the Saints would be better off looking at the prospect of signing the 18-year-old next summer as that would allow him a full pre-season to help him acclimatise to his new surroundings at St. Mary’s.

Written by Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game.

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