Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has admitted that he may be forced to leave Southampton in order to achieve his personal ambitions, while speaking to Sport1 amid speculation linking him with Tottenham Hotspur and Everton.
A player who Pep Guardiola tipped for the top at Bayern Munich might not have lived up to such lofty expectations in Bavaria but, after a couple of underwhelming years, he has got his career back on track at St Mary’s.
At the age of just 23, Hojbjerg was handed the captain’s armband at Southampton. And the all-action Dane has rewarded Ralph Hasenhuttl’s faith with undoubtedly his best run of form in a Saints shirt in recent months.
But while the South Coast team are determined to shed their ‘selling club’ image, they may have no choice but to listen to offers for an influential skipper. Hojbjerg has just one year left on his contract and, according to the Telegraph, Jose Mourinho’s Spurs and Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton are sniffing around.
Although the £13 million play-maker was at pains to point out that he has nothing but admiration for his current employers, Southampton fans should not be expecting Hojbjerg to take a leaf out of the Matt Le Tissier book.
“I know what I want, the club knows it too. I want to play at an even higher level than I am currently,” he says.
“The relationship between me and Southampton is fantastic. The club gave me the platform to grow.
“I’m not saying ‘Goodbye’ and I’m focused on my club, but my goal is very clear: I want to win the Premier League and the Champions League.”
With Tottenham a shadow of the side who came so close to glory during Mauricio Pochettino’s heyday, it remains to be seen whether Hojbjerg would jump at the chance to swap the South Coast for North London.
Then again, while Spurs and Everton have not exactly set the world alight this season, they would still represent a forward step for a player with boundless ambition.