Why Southampton signing Mattias Svanberg would bolster their midfield
Premier League rivals Leicester City, as well as Serie A pace-setters AC Milan, have also been linked with the 22-year-old this month. However, it is understood that Bologna are reluctant to part ways with the midfielder midway throughout the campaign, with the Swede still having a contract until the summer of 2023. (h/t MSN)
Sky Sports report that Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has ruled out any massive investment during the mid-season trading period. The Austrian has, however, indicated, that he will be on the lookout for up and coming players who he feels could be developed into long-term stars for the club.
Svanberg started his professional career with Malmo FF in his native Sweden, making his senior debut in the top-flight back in 2016. He enjoyed a bigger role in the following campaign and guided Malmo to the domestic title before establishing himself as a regular starter during the 2018 edition of the Allsvenskan.
The midfielder amassed an impressive tally of 6 goals and 11 assists in 47 appearances for his boyhood club in all competitions.
The 22-year-old’s growing reputation in Sweden paved the way for a move to Italy with Bologna in the summer of 2018. Svanberg has established himself as a key squad player for the Serie A outfit over the past two-and-a-half seasons, accumulating 3 goals and 4 assists in 67 appearances so far.
Meanwhile, Southampton should have one eye on potential reinforcements in the January window to bolster their surge for a return to Europe for the first time since 2016-17. The Saints currently find themselves 7th in the Premier League standings with 29 points accumulated from 17 games so far, just 3 points adrift of Leicester City in the top-four.
With fixtures set to come thick and fast during a hectic second half of the campaign, the Saints need to make sure that they have adequate depth in all areas of the pitch to go toe-to-toe with their rivals. Central midfield is one department where Southampton clearly lack enough cover, despite the acquisition of Ibrahima Diallo from Brest in the summer.
The departure of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has left Hasenhuttl with a shortage of quality alternatives beyond regular starters James Ward-Prowse and Oriol Romeu in the middle. Diallo has been gradually phased into the mix but is yet to convince that he is capable of starting games week in week out in the Premier League.
With Harrison Reed sold to Fulham and Mario Lemina also not in the manager’s plans, Southampton should line up a move for Bologna star Mattias Svanberg this month. The 4-cap Swedish international has shown a lot of potential in the Serie A but still has a lot of room for improvement to evolve into a genuinely top-quality box-to-box midfielder.
The 22-year-old looks like an ideal fit for Hasenhuttl’s transfer strategy that involves bringing in up and coming youngsters with a view to nurturing them into quality players at the Premier League level.
Svanberg would hardly walk straight into Southampton’s starting XI ahead of accomplished stars like Ward-Prowse and Romeu. But he would certainly offer some quality cover heading into a crucial and hectic winter schedule.
Southampton have snapped up a plethora of young talents since the appointment of Hasenhuttl. The likes of Che Adams, Moussa Djenepo, Diallo, Kyle Walker-Peters and Mohamed Salisu have all enjoyed varying degrees of success at St. Mary’s. But with the overall impression made by the youngsters regarded as positive, the Saints are certainly heading in the right direction.
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Having said that, Mattias Svanberg looks like a player in a similar mould and Southampton beating off competition for the Swede in the winter market would pay off handsomely for their long-term plans.