Currently sat 14th in the English Premier League table, Southampton are clearly a side focused on the future. Possessing one of the youngest teams in the Premier League this season, the Saints have some definite room for improvement going forward. However, while the club and manager Ralph Hasenhuttl are both focused on the years ahead, the side still needs to play well now. That’s where the loan market comes in.
Extremely inconsistent through the first two months of the season, Southampton are in need of some reinforcements. However, with the club on a limited budget, those reinforcements may come in the form of January loan moves. While not a permanent solution, such loan moves could definitely help stabilize this inconsistent side.
Needing a combination of experience and youthful skill, here are five players that Southampton should attempt to sign on loan during the January transfer window.
Loan Watch: Players Southampton Should Target
Bukayo Saka – Arsenal – Left Winger
Working his way up through the Arsenal youth system, Bukayo Saka has clearly become a favored youth star under Gunners’ manager Unai Emery. Making appearances in both the Premier League and Europa League for Arsenal, Saka has the look of a star in the making. However, lacking consistent first team minutes, Saka may need to continue his development elsewhere.
Keen to keep ahold of their London-born starlet, a loan move may be best for both Saka and Arsenal. Given his talent and ability, Saka should be a prime target for Southampton in January. While the Saints already possess a number of quality wingers, chance conversion remains an area of concern.
Throw in Moussa Djenepo’s unknown absence and the Saints may need to add a playmaker in January. A true attacking player, Saka would provide Southampton with a number of useful skills. A good finisher in front of goal, Saka’s best skill may be his creativity. A leader in chance creation for the Arsenal youth sides, a move for Saka would add a lot to the Southampton attack.
Yasser Larouci – Liverpool – Left Back
A highly sought-after prospect during the summer of 2017, Yasser Larouci was pursued by a number of Europe’s top clubs. Eventually agreeing to a deal with Liverpool, the Algerian left back has already begun a promising career in England. Helping lead the Reds’ youth side to a FA Youth Cup title in 2019, Larouci is clearly one to watch for the future.
One of Jurgen Klopp’s favored youth stars, the Algerian has been training with the Liverpool first team. However, despite his talent and admiration, Larouci has yet to make a first team appearance for the Reds. Turning 19 in January, Larouci will need to earn some first team minutes soon, which a loan move to Southampton would provide.
Currently sporting Ryan Bertrand as the only first team left back, Southampton are in dire need of another option. While Jake Vokins and Kevin Danso do give Ralph Hasenhuttl some options at the position, neither are a great choice at the moment. With a position open and minutes available, Southampton could be a perfect destination for Yasser Larouci to continue his development.
Tahith Chong – Manchester United – Winger
Turning 20 in December, Tahith Chong is a player desperate for first team minutes. Signed by Manchester United back in 2016, the young Dutchman was seen by many as a future star. Earning a number of awards during his time in England, Chong has yet to become a permanent fixture in the Red Devils’ first team.
Making just three first team appearances so far this season, Tahith Chong has seen his career begin to stall. Needing consistent minutes to continue his development, Manchester United may be tempted to send the Dutch forward out on loan. For Southampton, such a player would be a must-have.
Capable of playing any attacking position, Chong would give Southampton depth and youthful talent going forward. A talented goal scorer, Chong would also help the Saints improve in their finishing. While Chong would likely take minutes away from current academy players, his addition could just help steady the Saints’ unsteady ship.
Victor Wanyama – Tottenham Hotspur – Def. Midfielder
A former Saints player, Victor Wanyama is currently enduring a tough spell with Tottenham Hotspur. Making just two substitute appearances so far this campaign, Wanyama has found himself on the outside looking in at Spurs. With this unlikely to change in the near future, the 28-year-old may be forced to leave North London in order to secure first team minutes.
One such place that could offer those minutes is Southampton. Operating with a defensive midfielder during most matches, the Saints rely heavily on Oriol Romeu. However, the club currently lack a true second choice option at that position. Should Romeu suffer an injury or need a rest, Southampton will find themselves in a sour position.
Signing Wanyama on loan would give the Saints a good second option. Not only would the former Southampton star provide cover but he would also give manager Ralph Hasenhuttl another quality midfield option. Returning to St. Mary’s Stadium, a short term move would also allow Wanyama a chance to reinvigorate his career.
Folarin Balogun – Arsenal – Forward
One of Arsenal’s best young players, Folarin Balogun has been dominant at the youth level. Appearing in 19 matches for the Gunners’ U18 side last season, Balogun scored a whopping 25 goals. Continuing his great form this season, Balogun has already netted six goals in six English Premier League 2 matches.
Compared by some to current Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Folarin Balogun has a bright career ahead of him. Already dominant at the youth level, Arsenal will want to get Balogun first team minutes quickly. Because of this, one would assume that Folarin Balogun could soon be made available for loan.
With Southampton struggling to create chances and score goals, Balogun’s youthful presence could do wonders for this side. In need of minutes, a Southampton loan move could be great news for all parties.
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