Ruben Semedo is seemingly on his way to the Premier League, as Southampton and Newcastle United compete for his signature.
Sky Sports reported last week that the Magpies were in pole position to sign the talented centre-back, but A Bola in Portugal are reporting that the Saints are nearing a €14 million agreement with Sporting Lisbon.
The Portuguese press aren’t the most reliable, but they have been ahead of the curve on this transfer and it does look like the 23-year-old will have a big choice to make as to which end of England he will call home.
What would he bring to the Premier League?
The centre-back is highly rated and would represent a coup for either of the two clubs pursing him. Not only can he play in the heart of the defence, but he is a capable defensive midfielder and possesses the physical attributes to thrive in the Premier League.
He is more than capable in the air and his pace means that he is rarely beaten in a foot-race. Although his positioning is a concern at times, he can recover quickly and limit the cost of his initial mistake. The 23-year-old is a rough diamond, but under the right coach, he can develop into a star and it is easy to see why he is attracting interest from English clubs.
One of the major strengths of his game is his passing and ability to launch attacks from deep. He is a modern-day centre-half and can be excellent to watch on his day, as he has the confidence to take on passes that few in his position do with regularity. Semedo ended the Liga NOS season with a pass success rate of 90.5%, which is excellent for a player in his part of the pitch.
During the campaign, he was sent off on two occasions and his lack of discipline will be a concern if he does come to England. He isn’t the finished article yet, but there is reason to believe he would be a great signing for a Premier League club competing outside of the top six.
It appears very likely from the various reports in England and Portugal, but it is transfer season and every rumour needs to be treated with caution. If Southampton and Newcastle are battling for his signature, he has a difficult decision to make. The former could lose their best defender in Virgil van Dijk this summer and have proven themselves to be a good development club for centre-backs. Toby Alderweirld, Dejan Lovren and Van Dijk have all thrived on the South Coast. However, it should not be completely ruled out.
On the other hand, Newcastle have Rafa Benitez and that will increase their pulling power this summer, as players will be keen to work under the Spaniard. He would be able to shape Semedo into a better defender and reduce the errors in his game. In terms of finances, there would unlikely be a significant difference between the two. The next few days should tell us a lot about whether the centre-back is going to come to England and which club is the most likely destination.