Southampton are seeking a long term replacement for Virgil van Dijk, who is desperate to leave St. Mary’s this summer, and Lazio defender Wesley Hoedt seems to fit the bill for the Saints quite nicely.
However, if Everton have anything to do with it, the Dutch center back could end up at Goodison Park instead, per multiple reports.
The Blues are still anxious to find cover for the injured Ramiro Funes Mori. Hoedt, 23, is a left-sided defender, and can play the fullback spot in a pinch, too. The Dutchman spent the past season in a timeshare with the likes of Stefan de Vrij, Stefan Radu, and Walace, during which he picked up 2 goals and 5 yellow cards in 1882 minutes.
Wesley Hoedt - Serie A 16/17 [for @ThriveRoy] pic.twitter.com/s4qR7vnI5D— Football Radars (@FussballRadars) June 2, 2017
At 6’4”, Hoedt is a mountain of a man, and linking up with Michael Keane in the center of defense would give Everton an enormous physical advantage on aerial duels and set plays.
As the above radar displays, Hoedt won over 75% of his aerial battles, an impressive number. It’s likely that the Dutchman would be expected to pip Phil Jagielka for the 3rd center back spot on the depth chart, behind Keane and Ashley Williams.
Of course, when courting any defender - particularly a Dutch international - Everton hold the ultimate bargaining chip. Ronald Koeman was one of the very best defenders of his or any era, and Wesley Hoedt may be very keen to place himself under the wing of his countryman.
If the Blues truly want the Lazio man, there’s no reason this deal can’t be pushed across the finish line. Everton are a much more desirable destination for a young player looking for the next step in his career. Either way, it’s nearly guaranteed that at least one more defender will be brought into the fold at Finch Farm this summer.