Southampton have signed a defender to replace the transferred Jose Fonte
The Saints have finally signed a replacement defender after selling Jose Fonte to West Ham earlier in January. Ex Juventus defender Martin Caceres will be joining the team from free agency until the end of the season. The Uruguayan has not played a match since January of 2016, so it will be interesting to see how he fares in the Premier League.
Caceres is a temporary fix to a big problem in the Southampton back line. He is by no means a long-term solution, as he is 29 years old and quite injury prone. For now, however, the club will take what they can get. They let in 10 goals in three matches before recording a clean sheet against Sunderland on February 11th.
Key defender Virgil van Dijk sadly has no time-table for his return to the team. The Dutch defender has been incredible for the Saints this season, but picked up an injury in late January against Leicester. Manager Claude Puel has since said the defender will miss the rest of the season, leaving Southampton with a big hole in their back line.
A combination of defenders has been used in the absence of Fonte and van Dijk. Gardos, Stephens and Yoshida have all been brought in, with the latter two having more of a positive impact on the team. Once Caceres is ready to start, he will probably do so next to Yoshida. Both players are experienced defenders that will bring a sense of ease to the team as a whole.
Caceres’ first test should come against Manchester United in the EFL Cup final on February 26th. It will be a huge first match for the new signing with plenty of opportunity to prove his worth. Staying fit will be the biggest challenge for Caceres, but if he can, he should be able to lead Southampton to a few more clean sheets this year.