What Southampton see in this Colombian that West Ham couldn’t
Five Premier League appearances at the back end of last term weren’t enough to convince West Ham to bid for Colombia’s World Cup regular Pablo Armero after his loan ended, but the player’s exploits in Brazil have made Southampton sit up and take notice.
Armero came up with the first, and so far best, novel celebration of the tournament when cracking home his country’s opening goal of the samba jamboree after five minutes against Greece.
The attack-minded left-back formed part of a Los Cafeteros rearguard that kept two clean-sheets and conceded just twice in four games, prior to their 2-1 quarter-final exit at the hands of the hosts.
In four Champions League games for Napoli last season, against Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal and Marseille (twice), Armero contributed nine tackles and 11 interceptions, while getting a shot off per match on average and dribbling past four players in total.
The Serie A side held Armero’s registration last term, but Italy’s ‘complicated’ transfer system saw him return to Udinese, where the former Palmeiras man plied his trade from 2010-2013, over the summer.
Having come on as a second-half substitute in West Ham’s fixtures against Stoke and Sunderland in March, the 27-year-old impressed in his first start for Sam Allardyce’s side when Liverpool visited east London.
The Irons came as close as any team to ending what became an 11-game Premier League winning streak for the Reds, with Armero providing a constant attacking outlet down the flank.
To be fair to Allardyce, Armero was brought in as an emergency option, and only featured when regular full-back George McCartney was unavailable.
However, with the Northern Irishman released since, and untried former Ipswich man Aaron Cresswell expected to be first-choice in 2014/15, a punt on the World Cup campaigner may have been prudent.
That ship seems to have sailed for Allardyce, as new Southampton boss Ronald Koeman is reportedly ready to start spending some of the £56m brought in from the sales of England trio Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Luke Shaw on replacing the latter at left-back.
Udinese have indicated they will sell, although Fiorentina and Arsenal have also been mentioned as potential Armero suitors.
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