20-year-old midfielder Tonny Vilhena was one of Koeman’s favourites during his time in Rotterdam, cementing himself as a key player as the current Saints boss led the club to a second-placed finish in the Eredivisie.
Having originally made his debut for his hometown club under Koeman at the start of 2012, the Dutch Under-21 international became a regular in the first-team in the 2012-13 season, making 27 appearances, before moving on to make 32 last term. Well regarded for his technical reading of the game, Vilhena is adept in a defensive midfield role, as well as being able to provide his worth as an attacking force - registering six goals and seven assists last term.
Despite being part of the well-achieving Feyenoord side, current head coach Fred Rutten has somewhat outcast Vilhena, and he has failed to scale the heights of last season. Despite playing 12 times in the league, and three times in the Europa League, the youngster has started just 10 of those fixtures, and his performances have suffered with no goals or assists to his name. With playing time hard to come by, Vilhena has expressed his dissatisfaction with the current regime, and a report in the Netherlands has indicated that he is keen to leave the club in January.
With his favouritism of Koeman, it could be the perfect time for Southampton to make a move for the highly rated youngster - especially with Morgan Schneiderlin likely to leave St Mary’s Stadium in the summer.
Playing in the double-pivot position, Vilhena could fulfil the role that the French international plays, and he would surely be available at a cut-price fee. There is no doubt that the youngster himself would be up for a move, with Koeman likely to get the best out of him, and, with the Saints performing well above expectations, he could be joining a club who have a real chance of qualifying for the Champions League next term.
Whilst not a like-for-like replacement for Schneiderlin - who has been linked with moves to both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur - a coach of Koeman’s stature will be able to mould his side around the energetic style of Vilhena, and he would be wise to once again raid his former club in the search for success.