With Southampton eyeing LASK Linz winger Husein Balic ahead of the January transfer window, we feel that Nathan Redmond may struggle to keep his place in Ralph Hasenhuttl’s first team.
According to the Daily Mail, the Saints and Brentford are chasing the Austrian ahead of the winter transfer window, with Celtic also attributed with an interest in the 24-year-old.
The report suggests that Balic is regarded as one of the quickest players in world soccer, after clocking a running time of 39km/h during an Under-21 game against France, and he is nicknamed “the sprinter” due to his unbelievable speed.
The winger is currently valued at just £1.35 million by Transfermarkt, suggesting that he could be a very affordable option for the Saints in January.
Balic has enjoyed an excellent start to the 20/21 season, having contributed two goals and one assist in seven appearances in the Austrian Bundesliga for LASK Linz.
He has also impressed in their Europa League campaign thus far, with one goal and one assist in three appearances, which shows that he can perform at a high level, and is perhaps ready to make his mark in a more established league.
WhoScored suggests that Southampton like to play down the left-hand side, so should Balic join the club, you would imagine that he would have to become a big part of the way they play.
The 24-year-old’s pace could also help to significantly increase Southampton’s counter-attacking potential, as you imagine that his speed, alongside Che Adams and Danny Ings up top, would be enough to cause a lot of Premier League sides problems.
However, his potential arrival could spell trouble for Nathan Redmond. The 26-year-old has had a disappointing start to the 20/21 season, having contributed no goals and no assists in his five Premier League appearances thus far, which has seen him average a less than impressive 6.48 rating (per WhoScored).
Although he was excellent for the Saints at times last season, averaging a very solid 6.96 rating across the season, you would imagine that if his poor performances continue this season, Hasenhuttl would see no issue in replacing him with Balic in his starting XI.
It will be interesting to see if Southampton can see off competition from Brentford and Celtic in order to bring in Balic in January, and whether the speed-demon would be able to adapt to life in the Premier League quickly, which could see him keep the likes of Redmond on the bench.
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