Tag Archives: Belgium

Alder right noises: Toby is a Saint!

It was a pretty eventful transfer deadline day for Saints with the club leaving it as late as possible to announce their new players.

The first through the door last night was Belgian international defender Toby Alderweireld on a season long loan with option to buy deal from Atletico Madrid.  Alderweireld was part of Atletico’s La Liga winning and Champion’s League runners up squad last season and it is somewhat of a coup to see him arrive at St. Mary’s.

Capable of playing at both centre half and right back he not only provides vital cover but also the ability to take the club up a level in defensive terms.

I spoke to Kristof Terreur from the website ‘One Man in England‘ and asked him for the lowdown on his countryman.

It’s came from nowhere, but this seems to be a very good signing for Saints. What can we expect from Alderweireld?
KT ‘Alderweireld is a strong, determined central defender with an excellent long pass. He can also play as a right back. Despite the fact that he’s not the tallest, he’s strong in the air and a threat on set pieces. He likes too tackle too. ‘

Any specific strengths and weaknesses?

KT ‘Strengths: His presence, his long ball, his tackle, his treat on attacking set-pieces.

Weakness: he’s not the quickest, and both at Atlético and Ajax he was sometimes caught out of position and made some errors. Although he has a good long ball, he’s not the most accurate passer either, like the other Belgian central defenders in the PL.’

Toby the Saint!
Toby the Saint!

 

Do you think he will be able to adapt quickly to the Premier League?

KT ‘With his determination and tackling he’ll win hearts easily. He has the capacities to turn his hand to the English game.’

With the outgoings at Saints this Summer, many have suggested there is a lack of ‘ambition’ at the club. Does this signing refute that?

KT ‘Well, it’s only a loan. Alderweireld was linked to Arsenal a lot, but the interest was never concrete. Neither with the other big teams. Because he’s Belgian everyone is jumping on the bandwagon as the next big thing. But as a central defender he will always be behind Kompany or Vermaelen in the national team.’

Alderweireld at the World Cup.
Alderweireld at the World Cup.

So there we have it. Saints first of two deadline day players sounds like someone with a big future in the game. Thanks to Kristof for his time. The lowdon on Sadio Mané coming soon…..

Chris

Eye of the Taïder: Saphir is a Saint!

Signing number four is through the door at St. Mary’s and it comes in the form of midfielder Saphir Taïder on a season long loan deal from Inter Milan.

The Algerian international started two games at the recent World Cup in Brazil for his country in the defeats to Belgium and Germany respectively.

Though central midfield is hardly a position Saints have needed to strengthen, it will be interesting to see whether Taïder can make an impact at St. Mary’s.

As usual though I decided to spare you my uneducated views on a player I’ve seen little of and caught up with Inter fan Mike Whittaker from fansite http://www.nerazzurriworld.com/.

Firstly sorry for Osvaldo. Saphir Taider, what can you tell us about him?

MW ‘I must admit I’m not overly happy about the Osvaldo deal, his bad attitude and personality has a very negative affect on his considerable talent. He reminds me a lot of Balotelli (Good player but causes a lot of problems within his clubs), anyway this is about Taider!  Unfortunately, us Inter fans didn’t get to see as much of him as we would’ve liked last season, so I’m unable to give you a as in depth analysis as I would’ve been able to if he’d played regularly.

However, all in all, he has a huge amount of potential in the central midfield role. So what can Taider offer to the current Inter squad?  He is a box to box player that is comfortable playing as a defensive midfielder where he can utilise his preference to get stuck into a tackle to dispossess an opponent and fulfil his defensive duties.  His ability to hold onto the ball enables him to dictate the flow and tempo of the game and could be employed as a Regista too.
I will be sad to see the youngster with such good potential leave Inter, but as I’ll explain in the next question, it’s probably the best decision for both the player and Inter.’

Does he have any specific strengths and weaknesses you can tell us about?

MW ‘His greatest strength is in his defensive capabilities where he is very switched on to the flow of a game and solid when called upon.  His weakness is his reluctance to put in extra work to be noticed by the coach/manager, and can be lazy on the pitch when off the ball.  Last season he was vying for a place in the Inter team against Zdravko Kuzmanovic (who Inter fans will tell you is useless) and veteran Esteban Cambiasso (was looking exhausted by the last third of the season) both of whom amassed much more time on the pitch than Taider.  I can only speculate on the reason for this is that  Taider was unable to convince Walter Mazzarri of his value to the team and he mustn’t have gone the extra mile required to warrant the Inter coach to give him a proper chance.

This theory is strengthened by the fact that Mazzarri has brought in Yann M’Vila and Gary Medel into the Inter squad while letting the youngster Taider leave relatively easily.  Like I say this is speculation, but it is a very likely scenario knowing how Mazzarri likes his players to fight for a place on his team, and prove themselves worthy.’

 

Do you think he can adapt to the Premier League?

MW ‘I’m not convinced he can, if I’m totally honest. We all know the Premier league has a faster pace than Serie A, and if his laziness is obvious in Italy in England he could have rings run around him.  Sorry! Though, as I’ve said there is tons of potential in the lad, so with the right club and manager he could develop into a really good quality player.’

Saphir takes on Lahm at the World Cup.
Saphir takes on Lahm at the World Cup.

What have you made of the Southampton situation this summer?

MW ‘Obviously as an Inter & Serie A fan I don’t really know the ins & outs of what’s happening at Southampton, but it seems to me the club are taking several massive steps backwards this summer.  I can see them really struggling in the upcoming season, possibly with relegation on the cards come May.’

Have you heard anything about Ezequiel Schelotto following Taider to Saints?

MW ‘Yes, the rumour surrounding the deal is that Schelotto is included, I heard yesterday that he started following Southampton on Twitter so it definitely looks almost certain you will be getting him too.  If you want to know what he is like, it can be summed up in one sentence- one of the worst Inter purchases of recent years, as an out and out winger he was never going to suit the systems Inter use.’

So there we have it, another player added to the squad and another we can be excited to see in the famous red & white stripes, perhaps more as a potential star than an automatic first choice player!

Hopefully there are more to follow!

Chris