Though one would assume Southampton have enough about them to steer clear of a shock relegation from the Premier League, in truth we can’t be certain right now.
Just six points above the drop zone, the Saints have won one league game since the turn of the year, conceding 16 goals in all competitions in the process. That’s seen them slide down the table into 13th place, and the Southampton of old looks to have disappeared.
But there’s one man who might just be able to bring some much needed stability back to St Mary’s, and luckily for boss Claude Puel, he’s available on a free transfer.
Martin Caceres has been without a club since Juventus released him back in the summer. But it looks as though he’s about to bring his search for a team to an end, with reports suggesting the south-coast outfit have arranged a deal to sign the 29-year-old.
Following Jose Fonte’s shock departure last month and Virgil van Dijk’s long spell on the sidelines, the Saints are having to rely on the centre-back pairing of Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens.
Though they got off to a convincing start, keeping a clean sheet in their opening game together against Liverpool, Yoshida and Stephens have since struggled as a partnership, and Caceres couldn’t be coming at a better time.
Bringing with him 10 seasons’ worth of experience playing in La Liga and Serie A for the likes of Barcelona, Sevilla and Juve, the Uruguayan also has 64 senior caps for his country.
With that in mind, this sounds like a steal for Southampton. But of course, there’s one concern – he’s not played a minute of competitive football for just over a year after rupturing his Achilles tendon.
But having had plenty of time to recover and return to full fitness, Southampton could potentially ease him into their side over the coming weeks – and the international break in a fortnight will only help to bring the defender up to full speed.
While both Sunderland and Crystal Palace had been linked with the five-time Serie A winner, it loks as though Caceres’ mind has been made up, and that’s great news for a Southampton side currently in freefall.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing