Southampton are reportedly taking an interest in former Celtic centre-back Jozo Simunovic, with the Croatian available on a free transfer and if he were to sign, it could be bad news for Mohammed Salisu.
According to Goal, Southampton, VFB Stuttgart and FC Augsburg are all vying for the 26-year-old’s signature after his release from Celtic last summer.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have struggled from a defensive point of view in recent weeks, conceding 18 goals in their last five Premier League fixtures, including that heavy 9-0 defeat against Manchester United.
Whilst someone such as Simunovic could steady the ship, the Saints have welcomed back both Jannik Vestergaard and Salisu from injury recently, with the Ghanaian still yet to make an appearance for the South Coast club since his arrival from Real Valladolid in the summer of 2020.
It would be a blow for the 21-year-old’s chances if the 6 ft 3 Simunovic were to arrive, as it could potentially make him fifth-choice centre-back under Hasenhuttl – the likes of Jan Bednarek, Vestergaard and Jack Stephens have all been regulars at the heart of the Southampton defence this term.
Simunovic was solid at Celtic and helped them to five league titles in a row, making 126 appearances in that time, but was released last summer, most likely due to the injury issues that kept him out for large periods during his time with the Hoops.
Signing another injury-prone defender is the last thing Hasenhuttl needs when you consider the number of issues he has had to deal with this season, with Salisu having struggled with fitness and injury problems throughout his time with the Saints.
Therefore, Southampton may be best served by avoiding the six foot three Simunovic due to his injury concerns, as well as the fact that it could seriously harm Salisu’s chances of ever establishing himself in the first-team under Hasenhuttl.
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