Southampton midfield destroyer Oriol Romeu has been linked with a summer transfer to Premier League rivals Aston Villa.
According to a report from the Telegraph, the Spaniard is “admired by Villa’s recruitment team and coaching staff”, although any move does appear unlikely at this time.
Romeu’s Saints teammate James Ward-Prowse has had strong rumours suggesting that he may be set for a move to Villa Park too. As the Telegraph state though, Saints will see both players as key parts of their setup for the upcoming season.
The two formed a superb partnership that was vital in the early season form that Saints showed in 2020/21 and they will hope to be combining well again when August comes around.
Southampton’s midfield duo must be kept together
Overall, Saints have a young squad. They had the third youngest group of players in the Premier League last season and that means the experience they have mixed into the first-team remains crucial.
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Oriol Romeu and James Ward-Prowse provide a healthy portion of this experience but also make up a key component in the way that Saints play under Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Ward-Prowse’s performances over the last two years have perhaps been more noticeable given that he has chipped in with goals and assists due to being the more forward-thinking of the two players, but Romeu has bided his time at the club and looks a perfect fit right now.
In the early part of last season, he was the one in midfield keeping possession as Saints looked to see out narrow wins. He is a calming head and acts as the metronome for his side whilst also being a very reliable screen for his back four.
It was a real blow when he fractured his ankle in the loss at Leeds and Saints certainly missed him in the three months he was out. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that their form dropped off in that spell.
Once August’s Premier League opener against Everton comes around, that Ward-Prowse and Romeu combination will surely be central to plans going forward – even if rumours about their future rumble on. Besides, both are tied to contracts that were signed just last years anyway.