Rumours that Luke Shaw is set to leave Southampton this summer will continue to grow this week with the news that the Premier League club are interested in making a move for OGC Nice left-back Timothee Kolodziejczak. Any move for the 22-year-old French defender would clear the path for Shaw to move to Manchester United or Chelsea.
Kolodziejczak has been an excellent signing for Nice, joining the club on a free from Lyon in XXXX under boss Claude Puel. The coach was able to monitor his progress when he was in charge of OL between XXX and XXX and he obviously saw enough of the defender in training that he wanted to take him to the South of France.
The former Under-21 full-back is tall, strong and quick; everything needed to succeed as a modern-day defender. He is very strong defensively – something that is not always apparent in modern defenders – and is a threat in the oppositions final third.
Here are five more facts about the young French defender:
Kolodziejczak is another graduate to come out of the famous Nord-Pas-de-Calais preformation centre in Liévin. He joined a list of graduates such as Gael Kakuta and Raphael Varane.
After impressing in Lens youth academy he was signed by Lyon, originally on loan aged on 16 years old. Lens demanded €3 million in compensation in the permanent deal. Lyon had to fight off Manchester United in order to sign the left-back.
He has played 48 times for the various France youth sides and was part of the winning Under-19 European Champions in 2010. He played alongside Lyon teammates Alexandre Lacazette and Clement Grenier.
Despite his attacking intent, Kolodziejczak has only ever scored twice in his club career, both goals coming this season. The first – a header from a corner - was the opening goal in a 2-2 draw against Montpellier, and was the last ever game played at the Stade de Ray.
Standing at 185cm tall, Kolo – as he is known more commonly – is able to play all over the back-line. He has had to fill in at centre-back at times in the last 12 months and it is something he can do confidently. He is also able to push forward into the attacking roles.
There is little doubt that Kolodziejczak is an excellent prospect. He may have fallen down the pecking order with France due to the success of Lucas Digne and Layvin Kurzawa, but he is a very able left-back with a wonderful engine and a great left-foot.
Mauricio Pochettino would do well to bring Kolo to Southampton and it would certainly suppress the blow of losing Luke Shaw this summer.