Southampton’s transfer activity is lauded more often than not, with deals such as Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane and Luke Shaw springing to mind when recalling the big hits that have illustrated the prowess of the south coast club’s system, but the sale of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to Tottenham Hotspur must leave a sense of pathos within the club.
Signed from German giants Bayern Munich for just £13m in 2016 as a 20-year-old, the Danish Hojbjerg forged 136 appearances for Saints, scoring five goals and providing six assists, and earning the captaincy role after four years of solid work in preserving top-flight status and indeed treading water safely above danger, integral in former boss Ralph Hasenhuttl’s system.
But having signed for Spurs for only £15m in 2020, the 27-year-old’s departure left a hole in the efficacy of the central engine, with it no coincidence that the club’s steady decline over the past few years runs parallel with his exit from St. Mary’s Stadium.
And with Saints currently at the nadir of their stay in the Premier League, bottom of the table and four points from safety after 24 matches, the inclusion of a robust and industrious midfielder of Hojbjerg’s ilk could have gone a long way in preventing the current mess.
How much is Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg worth now?
Hojbjerg’s development has been commendable, and his role with the Lilywhites has been reflected by his surging market value.
According to CIES Football Observatory, the £100k-per-week gem is valued at roughly £61m at present, and with years ostensibly left at the top of his game, he might yet attract a fee from one of Europe’s most distinguished outfits to dwarf his past fee put forth by Southampton.
As per FBref, the 63-cap star ranks among the top 5% of midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues for pass completion, the top 8% for attempted passes and the top 17% for progressive passes per 90, as well as the top 16% for clearances and the top 18% for blocks per 90.
Hailed as “phenomenal” by former boss Jose Mourinho, such stellar aforementioned statistics illuminate the presence he holds on the pitch, exuding confidence and energy and threading the respective departments together with a slick and assured approach.
And considering his growth within his current Champions League-contesting outfit, his sale will undoubtedly leave a bitter taste in the mouth for Saints fans, especially when his impressive 7.22 league rating this term, as per Sofascore, is bettered only by the marvellous James Ward-Prowse in the Southampton squad.
While the Dane will be remembered fondly for his efforts on the south coast, his current market value reflects what could have been for his former employers, had they held onto him for that bit longer.
As he had just one year remaining on his contract, his value was inevitably not going to receive apt reflection as his side looked to cash in on him while they still could, but the poignancy hangs in the air like murky mist when considering what might have been.
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