Will Maya Yoshida keep Southampton in the Premier League this season?

After the disastrous start to the campaign for Jose Fonte and an equally nervous beginning from Jos Hooiveld is the Japanese centre half Southampton's most important arrival?

Southampton have really had it bad so far this season after faltering to 0 points after 3 games. The most upsetting aspect about the defeats has been the way they have come about. Pushing Manchester United and City all the way in 3-2 defeats sandwiching a poor defeat at the potential fortress St Marys at the hands of Roberto Martinez’s Wigan side.

Many of the Saints promoted players have adapted well to the Premier League with Rickie Lambert looking as dangerous as ever, Adam Lallana seamlessly progressing whilst moving into a deeper position and taking the captains armband whilst Nathaniel Clyne has looked promising since his move from Crystal Palace. Add the talents of the young James Ward-Prowse and tricky Jason Puncheon into the mix and you can understand why they have started so well performance wise.

But they have been let down defensively. Jos Hooiveld in general has looked impressive but he has been suckered into two penalty consolations by Premier League stalwarts in Carlos Tevez and Robin Van Persie. He needs to be more careful when approaching players of this ability in the box. But Jose Fonte, his centre back partner has not fared well so far.

Last season he began to show potential stretchmark’s in his ability when he was torn apart by Adam Le Fondre of Reading and this season his lack of pace and clumsy demeanour have cost Southampton dearly on more than one occasion. Despite his assured performances in League One on the first steps toward Southampton’s miraculous football and financial recovery his time in the spotlight may be up, as his talent begins to run out of moving space against the standard of player at this level.

So while a lot of attention has focused on the brilliant coup of Gaston Ramirez for Southampton you could argue that their biggest signing of the summer window is the acquisition of Japanese defender Maya Yoshida from Dutch side VVV-Venlo.

At 24 years old he is one of ever growing contingent of a central midfielder transformed into a centre half and his technical skills are well highlighted through the 5 goals he scored last season from the back, including the Dutch goal of the season against PSV Eindhoven.

He has captained Japan and was linked with a host of Premier League and European clubs before eventually agreeing to sign for Southampton for the upcoming season.

If he performs to his potential, Maya Yoshida may just be the reason Southampton avoid the drop come May.

Check out Southampton’s new Japanese centre back scoring the Dutch goal of the season…

image: © ingythewingy

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