Southampton linked with Christopher Jullien move

Southampton linked with Christopher Jullien move

The Toulouse defender made 30 appearances in Ligue 1 last season as Les Violets secured their top-flight safety.

Ewan Kingsbury

Both French and English sources have named Southampton as one of the clubs chasing Toulouse captain Christopher Jullien, 25,  with Crystal Palace and Burnley also in the race for the France U20 international.

The centre-back stands at 6 feet 5 inches, winning the fourth most aerial duels per game in France's premier division. 

Dutch giants Ajax are also interested in the defender, and although the Amsterdam club can offer Champions League football, Jullien has made it very clear that he wants to play in the Premier League.

 Jullien also has experience in Germany, where he played for Freiburg, playing 50 games and scoring one goal. 

Jullien would shore up fragile rearguard

An area where Southampton were most vulnerable last season was dealing with aerial threats, with goals from Peter Crouch, Glenn Murray, Sam Vokes, Olivier Giroud and Laurent Depoitre costing The Saints precious points in the first half of the season alone. 

Last season Maya Yoshida, Wesley Hoedt and Jack Stephens won 2.9, 2.2 and 2.2 aerial duels per game respectively, whereas Christopher Jullien won 4.1 per game - losing only 1.4 in an average game.

Jullien has also displayed tremendous strength throughout his seasons in French football, with his impressive frame able to throw many attackers off the ball. 

Jullien also made more tackles, interceptions, clearances and blocks in an average game last season than the departed Virgil van Dijk made for Liverpool.



Ex-Dijon man a bargain at £9m

At 25, Jullien has his best years ahead of him. With Southampton's recent transfer dealings in mind, it's unclear if he would spend them all at St Mary's.

Toulouse have reportedly asked for £9m for the Auxerre youth product, which is well within Saints' budget - especially with £55m of the Virgil van Dijk money remaining in the Southampton coffers.

It remains to be seen if Southampton will close out this particular deal, but this link is a huge step on the way to forging a formidable centre-back partnership, unlike the leaky backline of the past two seasons.