Southampton captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has admitted that he wants to play at a higher level than he is at currently.
The Denmark international has been heavily linked with both Spurs and Everton recently and Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has confirmed in the past that his midfielder is on the wish lists of many big European clubs.
Hojbjerg’s latest comments may not be a surprise to Saints fans after seeing many players leave the club in past seasons, but they will be wondering just how much higher the 24-year-old’s talent can take him.
Speaking to Sport 1, Hojbjerg said:
“I know what I want, the club knows it too. I want to play at an even higher level than I am currently. The relationship between me and Southampton is fantastic. The club gave me the platform to grow. I’m not saying ‘Goodbye’ and I’m focused on my club, but my goal is very clear: I want to win the Premier League and the Champions League.”
With Saints being in arguably the best league in the world, he is still at a high level. However, his determination to become a player that plays regular European football is clear.
Mentality is part of what helps a player reach those levels and self-confidence like Hojbjerg has will have seen him brush many other players aside in his development so far.
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Talent is obviously the other thing that someone must have to make it to the best teams, and it is fair to say that Hojbjerg is perhaps not quite at that level yet.
However, he is yet to reach the peak of his career despite making great progress since breaking through at Bayern Munich.
This will attract suitors from other clubs who have seen his performances playing high-pressing football under Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Saints is the first club where he has settled for a longer period of time and his work so far has seen him pick up the captain’s armband. From his comments here too, there is a lot of mutual respect between himself and the club for the way they have helped each other to date.
Hojbjerg also adds that this isn’t “goodbye”, which does show that he has not fully set his sights on moving on just yet.
Saints had a similar experience with Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama – midfielders who impressed playing at St Mary’s and were capable of making a step up, but who stayed for one more season to boost their stock further.
Hojbjerg only has one year left on his contract, but Wanyama’s situation was the same and the club eventually sold him for an identical fee to the one they had bought him for from Celtic.