April 22, 2024

Southampton sold this former star at the best possible time.
Southampton must catch up if they are to break into the Championship’s automatic promotion slots. The Saints are nine points behind Leicester City in second place, but have two games in hand.

Russell Martin will be hoping that his South Coast side can rectify their defensive flaws in the coming games if they are to move up the table after conceding five goals in their past two league games before the international break.

Kyle Walker-Peters’ probable return and fitness could assist the Saints prepare for their home encounter with Middlesbrough on Good Friday, as the second-tier club is missing their trusty right-back due to injury in the previous two games.

Even though Southampton has been philanthropic in defence recently, they would not turn back the clock to get this former £18 million man back on their books, with his transfer value plummeting since leaving St Mary’s in 2021.

Jannick Vestergaard’s stats at Southampton

Jannick Vestergaard was once a fan favourite on the South Coast, making 79 appearances for the Saints and scoring four goals.

The £18 million signing would be a giant in his final season for Southampton, scoring three times as a towering 6 foot 6 centre-back, including this superb header against Tottenham Hotspur, who had previously expressed interest in the Dane’s services.

Alan Shearer praised the former Saints player as “outstanding” when reviewing the greatest top-flight performers in December of that season.

 

Leicester City eventually signed the Scandivanian defender at the end of that season, paying what appeared to be a bargain fee of £15 million at the time.

However, the towering defender’s transition has not been without its challenges.

A rocky start at the King Power Stadium coincided with Brendan Rodgers’ refusal to play him, and he played just 10 Premier League games in his first season and none in his second under the now-Celtic manager before leaving in the aftermath of relegation.

Vestergaard has managed to redeem himself during Enzo Maresca’s brief tenure, making 33 appearances for the Foxes as they aim for an immediate return to the top flight, but his once-substantial transfer value has taken a hit to ease Southampton’s pain at losing him.

Jannik Vestergaard’s transfer value in 2024

Jannik Vestergaard - Player profile 23/24 | Transfermarkt

 

According to Football Transfers, the 31-year-old defender is now valued €1.7 million (£1.4 million), down from his previous price tag of £18 million.

To put this in context, the Danish centre-back would be worth less than Jack Stephens in the current Southampton squad, who has recently come under fire for his poor performances, with journalist Felix Keith criticising Martin’s decision to “shoe-horn” the captain into the side at left-back on occasions.

The long-standing Saints servant would win zero duels in his team’s penultimate game against Sunderland, but is still estimated to be worth €1.9 million (£1.6 million).

Southampton have also been able to replace Vestergaard with younger and fresher players, with Manchester City loanee Taylor Harwood-Bellis – who is valued €12.5 million (£10.7 million) – doing admirably at the back this season after signing on loan from the current Premier League winners.

Along with experience in the form of Jan Bednarek, who has missed only two league games in Martin’s side since dropping down, Southampton should be able to return to more tenacious defensive displays in the coming weeks to avoid shipping goals for fun.

If Vestergaard remained on Southampton’s roster, he would be the third least useful player at St Mary’s, according to the chart above.

Although the 6 foot 6 former Saint has managed to turn around his stalled career, Southampton no longer regrets how things ended.

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