The Basingstoke Gazette has reported a midfield crisis on the south coast and has suggested that Southampton manager Ronald Koeman may have to take radical action in relation to his midfield for the game against Everton this weekend.
The Saints haven’t won a game since they played Leicester City on November 8 and a combination of suspensions and injuries, means the Dutch coach is short of options.
One change he’s reportedly considering is pushing central defender Toby Alderweireld into a midfield role, where he’d most likely be asked to sit and protect the defence.
It’s a role that would normally be filled in the side by Morgan Schneiderlin or Victor Wanyama, but unfortunately for the boss, both players are ineligible for the game this weekend. Jack Cork is also unavailable through injury.
It’s important Koeman finds a good balance, which doesn’t affect the blend of defensive and attacking players pulling the strings in the middle of the team.
If there’s any confusion created if Alderweireld slots into midfield, Everton have the form and the quality to take advantage of it.
Koeman needs to work hard to stop morale from dropping because it’s now been well over a month since the team last won a game.
They’re still in a good position in the Premier League table, which the boss and players have to focus on, and a win could take the Saints back into the top four behind Manchester United, if West Ham drop points.
Alderweireld has enough quality, and the experience of being a centre back, to know how to protect the defence efficiently and the boss has good options in wide areas, with Graziano Pelle set to return in attack, as he sniffs out goals.