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Talking Tactics

New signings: Perraud makes Southampton more attacking

Adrian Clarke 2 Aug 2021

Adrian Clarke says Frenchman scored or set up more goals than any Premier League full-back last season

Adrian Clarke analyses players who have changed clubs this summer and can make an impact in 2021/22.

Romain Perraud (SOU)

Southampton will be delighted to have signed Ligue 1's best left-back of 2020/21.

Perraud has joined from Brest on the back of an outstanding breakthrough campaign in which he was named in the France Football Ligue 1 team of the season.

The Frenchman is lively and creative inside the opposition half but also able to shackle his direct opponents.

Perraud, 23, is an ideal replacement for Ryan Bertrand, who has signed for Leicester City.

Last season Southampton's new recruit was tremendous inside the final third, scoring three goals and producing seven assists.

No Premier League full-back managed 10 direct goal involvements in 2020/21.

Full-back goal involvements 2020/21
Player Goal involvements Goals Assists
Romain Perraud 10 3 7
Trent Alexander-Arnold 9 2 7
Ben Chilwell 8 3 5
Andrew Robertson 8 1 7
Aaron Cresswell 8 0 8

During the second half of last season Ralph Hasenhuttl’s 4-4-2 formation became unbalanced.

Injuries to Kyle Walker-Peters and Bertrand, coupled with a lack of cover, left the manager with little choice but to occasionally deploy central defenders as auxiliary full-backs.

When only one of the flanks featured an orthodox attacking full-back, the structure of Southampton’s forward raids naturally became lopsided and easier to contain.

Better balance

The introduction of Perraud, who is even more adventurous than right-back Walker-Peters, will give Saints a better balance.

When Southampton go forward in 2021/22 we should regularly see the wingers drift infield, leaving space for the full-backs to exploit.

To avoid being vulnerable to counters, defensive midfielder Oriol Romeu will then drop in to protect and become a third centre-back.

As shown below, Perraud’s stats were highly impressive for Brest.

Perraud's 2020/21 stats comparison
Per 90 mins Bertrand Walker-Peters Perraud
Open-play crosses 2.1 1.2 3.7
Succ. open-play crosses 0.2 0.2 1.1
Key passes 0.5 0.5 1.1
Shots 0.3 0.6 1.3
Tackles 2.1 2.8 1.7
Interceptions 1.0 1.3 1.3

Hasenhuttl was the only Premier League manager to stick with the same formation for all 38 matches last season, never deviating away from 4-4-2.

But Perraud’s arrival now presents an opportunity to mix up the shape.

He is good enough to cover the entire left flank on his own as a wing-back, just as Walker-Peters would be on the other side, which enables a switch to 3-5-2.

Southampton's poor defensive record is one reason Hasenhuttl may experiment with that system ahead of their season opener at Everton.

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Saints conceded 68 goals last season, second only to the 76 of relegated West Bromwich Albion.

Indeed, this calendar year, they have kept only two clean sheets in 22 outings.

Perraud looks a classy addition who will improve Southampton's starting XI in both attack and defence. His acquisition is a real coup.

See: Talking Tactics: New signings for 2021/22

Add Romain Perraud (£5.0m) to your Fantasy Premier League squad

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