The 2015/16 season has only just come to a close, and already, Southampton are being linked with a number of promising names. But one position that continues to fill fans with excitement during the transfer window is the possibility of Southampton acquiring a new winger. Ex-saint Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and transfer rumour regular Nathan Redmond have been linked with a move to the South Coast, but the latest name is young Jordon Ibe of Liverpool Football Club.
First of all, let’s allow us Southampton fans to be filled with hope – If the signing were to go through, what aspects of Jordon Ibe’s play should we be most excited about?
His direct style of play. He’s the sort of player who has the potential to obliterate a full-back.
He’s quick and to the point when in possession and it’s this positive style of play that just seems to cause havoc in the Premier League. He’s not in the same league as Riyad Mahrez, but look at the chaos he caused with his direct nature.
He also seems to have the ability to link with the creative players in the team. He struck up a partnership with Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana with relative ease, so perhaps he could do the same with Saido Mane and Dusan Tadic.
Why hasn’t Ibe been a favourite under Jurgen Klopp?
Confidence is key with Ibe and for large parts of last season he was lacking the self-belief needed for him to flourish. He was feeling the pressure of having to ‘replace’ £50 million man Raheem Sterling and I think it got a bit too much.
It didn’t help that Liverpool adopted a disciplined 4-4-1-1 system and the defensive responsibility seemed to weigh Ibe down and have a negative impact on his performances.
What are the frustrations and negatives in Ibe’s play?
His final ball is woeful at times. Whether it’s picking the right pass or taking on a shot there are times he just seems completely overawed. He seems to overcomplicate things when he has time on his hands.
The defensive side of his game isn’t the greatest either and he is known to switch off when tracking back. These shouldn’t be red flags though, they’re areas of his game that will improve with more games under his belt.
In recent months, Southampton have adopted a direct counter attacking style of football – would this match Ibe’s ability?
This would be perfect for Ibe. If you get the chance to watch his goals against Rubin in the Europa League and West Brom in the Premier League, you’ll see they both come from direct attacks where he is able to drive into space – it’s almost instinctive to him.
He’s a bit of a tank when he gets going. It’s rare to find a player with such power and pace at his age so it’s important that he’s utilised effectively.
Southampton fans have been treated to a free-scoring frontline over 2016, but perhaps the only missing quality is a player who can strike the ball from distance – could Ibe be the answer to this problem?
Ibe definitely has that in his locker. You’ve seen the lad – if he strikes a ball it’s staying hit. His goal against your lot in the League Cup was a finely struck effort.
His first team debut for Liverpool saw his smash the post against Everton from 25 yards. He even scored a left footed worldie in pre-season just to let everybody know that his left foot isn’t just for show.
It’s worth noting the academy staff thought he could potentially play the Steven Gerrard role as the number 10.
What would be your feelings toward watching the youngster go?
He’s a talented lad and he deserves to fulfil his potential, whatever that level is. I’d be disappointed to see him go because I think there’s a player in there, but, at the same time, if he’s not going to get many first team minutes under Klopp, it’s probably best for all parties if he moved on.
I wouldn’t be too disheartened because there a few talented attackers in the academy.
And finally, in your opinion, would Jordon Ibe be a good signing for Southampton?
I’ve got a lot of respect for how Southampton develop youngsters so on paper it’s the perfect club for Ibe. He would add something to your attack from the off but there’s also a high ceiling there for him to grow. He’s the sort of player you could turn a big profit on on 2/3 years – talented young English attacker.