Southampton were heavily linked with signing Weston McKennie during the summer transfer window and after his bright start to life at Juventus, it looks as if they may have made an error in not signing him.
According to the Daily Express, in July Southampton were leading a five-horse race of Premier League sides interested in signing the USA international but they would ultimately miss out on the midfielder, as he opted to join Juventus instead.
The report from the Express suggests that a deal hinged on whether the Saints could do a deal with Tottenham for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and whilst the defensive-midfielder departed for Spurs, the South Coast side and CEO Martin Semmens were unable to conclude a deal for McKennie.
The former Schalke man has made a solid start to life in Turin, having averaged a strong 6.94 rating across his three appearances in Serie A, in which he has contributed an assist (per WhoScored).
The defensive-midfielder could have been the ideal man to replace Hojbjerg, as WhoScored suggests that his main strengths are defensive contribution, aerial duels, blocking the ball and ball interceptions.
McKennie earned a lot of praise during his time at Schalke, with former coach Domenico Tedesco suggesting:
“Even during those phases when it’s not going so well, he embodies everything that we strive to stand for. He has a good mentality, he’s powerful, down-to-earth and works hard – and he can play as a six, eight or ten. As long as he continues to work hard and keeps his feet on the ground, he’ll only get better. He’s just great!”
He also praised the 22-year-old’s body language, saying:
“The fans love the way he plays, and the work he puts in. His body language is extraordinary. There are players in the team that already measure themselves against him, and let’s not forget that he’s still a raw talent. It’s not like he’s reached his full potential at 20. I’m sure he’ll only get better.” (per Bundesliga.com)
Therefore, it can certainly be argued that Southampton really missed out on McKennie, as at 22, he could have been a staple of Hasenhuttl’s side for a long time and judging by what Tedesco suggested, he is only going to get better.
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