Better than Hojbjerg in 19/20: Southampton eye No.6 who can answer Hasenhuttl prayers – opinion

Southampton could have a replacement for recent departure Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg lined up.

According to L’Equipe (via Sport Witness), the Saints have their sights firmly set on 21-year-old Ibrahima Diallo from Brest. After attracting interest from Leicester in January, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side become the latest to monitor the Frenchman’s situation.

Who is Southampton transfer target Ibrahima Diallo?

The club have named Diallo as their priority signing to secure before the transfer window closes. The Brest ace has represented his country at an U20 level and has made a total of 53 senior appearances in Ligue 1 (via Transfermarkt).

Diallo operates primarily as a defensive midfielder but he has also been known to play further forward as well.

L’Equipe state that the Saints could sign the France youth international for €15million (£13.6m), despite still having three years left on his current contract.

Where would Ibrahima Diallo fit at Southampton?

Southampton are currently strapped in the engine room, having a mere five midfielders listed on their senior roster. However, the likes of Will Smallbone have only recently been promoted from the youth league. Despite his young age, adding Diallo to the ranks could seriously bolster Southampton’s options.

With Hojbjerg no longer in the picture, Hasenhuttl’s side are really lacking depth. Star striker Danny Ings will also see a dip in performance if the midfield is struggling to feed him the chances he is prolific at latching onto.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg vs Ibrahima Diallo

Despite generally playing in a more defensive role than Hojbjerg, Diallo registered the same amount of assists (1) as the Dane during the 2019/20 season, and tallied a better passing percentage with 86% to the new Spurs signing’s 78.1% (via WhoScored).

diallo - Better than Hojbjerg in 19/20: Southampton eye No.6 who can answer Hasenhuttl prayers - opinion

Diallo also completed more dribbles per match – 1.4 – to Hojbjerg’s 1.2. His discipline was also much better, receiving just two yellow cards in the league season compared to the 25-year-old’s five.

These stats alone suggest that the Frenchman is a more level-headed player and can pull the strings in midfield, whilst helping to protect the backline. With the Saints finishing in a respectable 11th place last campaign, Diallo could be a signing to help push them further up this table this time round.

In other news, Spurs are keen to sign Southampton striker Danny Ings…

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