Saints should have signed “unbelievable” PEH replacement, more experienced than Diallo – opinion

Following the sale of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to Tottenham Hotspur in the summer, Southampton missed a big chance to bring in Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham as his replacement.

The Danish international joined the North London club over the summer, whilst Kyle Walker-Peters made his loan stay with the Saints a permanent one, presumably using the funds gained from the sale of the midfielder.

The South Coast club were linked with a move for Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham throughout the transfer window and it could be argued that they made a big mistake not bringing the Frenchman in, as they are arguably lacking options in central midfield.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has just James Ward-Prowse and youngster Will Smallbone as naturals in that position in his squad, suggesting that they could, and perhaps should, have added reinforcements in that position following the Danish international’s departure.

Although the Saints did sign Ibrahima Diallo from Stade Brest towards the end of the window, the 21-year-old has played just 18 minutes in the Premier League so far this season, suggesting that they could have done with a more experienced option to come in as a direct replacement for Hojbjerg.

Ntcham has played 142 times for Celtic since joining them from Manchester City in 2017, in which he has contributed an impressive 24 goals and 13 assists from midfield (per Transfermarkt).

The former France U’21 international is extremely versatile, having featured as both an attacking and defensive-midfielder regularly during his career, whilst he has also played on the wing and even as a striker on a few occasions.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon was extremely complimentary of the 24-year-old following a defeat against CFR Cluj in the Europa League last season, saying:

“I thought Ntcham was unbelievable.

“To give him the captaincy and then for him to take on the responsibility the way he did was excellent.

“I thought his all-round game tonight was absolutely top class.” (per The Celtic Star)

Considering the midfielder is valued at just £3.6 million by Trransfermarkt, it could certainly be argued that the Saints missed out on a bargain deal for Ntcham, and perhaps they will consider reigniting their interest in the Frenchman in January.

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