This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Southampton are interested in a move for Nottingham Forest centre-back Joe Worrall, as reported by Hampshire Live.
After seeing star defender Jannik Vestergaard complete his move to Premier League rivals Leicester City last Friday, they are currently on the prowl for a replacement and have drawn up a list of potential targets Ralph Hasenhuttl could potentially move for.
24-year-old Forest centre-back Worrall, who graduated through the East Midlands side’s academy system and has become one of the club’s finest players, is one man the Saints are currently looking at.
But the south-coast side are not the only top-flight team to have taken an interest in the Englishman this summer, with Burnley, Crystal Palace, West Ham United and Norwich City all said to have previously monitored his situation at the City Ground.
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However, he is expected to return before the transfer window closes which could allow Southampton to swoop in and secure their second high-profile signing from the Championship this summer.
Ahead of this potential move, we asked three of our FLW reporters whether they think he would be a good signing for the Premier League outfit – and whether he would be a much-needed figure at St Mary’s.
Let’s take a look at what they’ve had to say.
Aside from perhaps Rob Dickie of Queens Park Rangers, I can’t think of many more ideal centre-backs that Southampton could be targeting to replace Jannik Vestergaard than Worrall.
Worrall may not exactly be a like-for-like replacement in the sense that he’s a couple of inches shorter than the towering Dane, but he’s a little bit more mobile and he will be comfortable in playing with the ball at his feet.
It was well-known that Southampton needed a Vestergaard replacement as it is but it was even more clear that a defender was desperately needed following the defeat to Everton at the weekend, and Worrall could definitely bring a bit more solidity to that back-line.
Of course though we have no idea if he can make that step up to the Premier League and perform on a consistent basis, but what is pretty clear is that he’s one of the Championship’s top centre-backs and he does deserve a crack at the top flight.
If a suitable offer is made, perhaps in the low eight figures, then I can see Forest cashing in to help strengthen multiple areas of their squad – he would be a big loss but in the long run Chris Hughton may weirdly be better off without Worrall.
Nottingham Forest have already shown that they will be willing to cash in on Joe Worrall this summer with Brentford having nearly secured a move for him before deciding to make a move for Kristoffer Ajer instead.
Southampton are in need of adding a new centre-back to their squad after Jannick Vestergaard was sold to Leicester City.
Worrall seems to perfectly fit the bill by way of a potential replacement for the Saints, who have already shown willingness to enter into the Championship transfer market to replace a key player in the form of Danny Ings with them signing Adam Armstrong.
The Nottingham Forest defender appears to be ready to make the step up to the Premier League and he is someone that could do a really solid job for Southampton in terms of replacing Vestergaard.
This is the sort of move that you can see Southampton making now that they have funds from the sale of Vestergaard and it would be a very wise signing for them to make.
I think Worrall would be an ideal signing for the Saints after they saw Jannik Vestergaard move to Leicester City recently.
He is a player who has more than proven himself in the Championship and I think the general view is that he could do a job in the Premier League.
They need to replace Vestergaard with an almost like for like replacement and Worrall would certainly fit the way that Ralph Hasenhuttl likes his side to play out from the back.
He would also come a little bit cheaper than other players in his position that play in larger competitions, which is sure to be something which also appeals to the south-coast club.
The time is now for Worrall to prove himself at the highest level and there is certainly a feeling that he has never been closer to having the chance to do just that than there is now.