Southampton have recalled defender Jan Bednarek from his loan at Aston Villa, as they look to bolster their chances of Premier League survival.
The 26-year-old move to Villa Park in the summer on a season-long loan deal, but has made just four appearances for Villa.
The Poland international has only started once and on that occasion he was substituted at half-time during their defeat to Fulham in Steven Gerrard’s final game in charge of Villa.
Bednarek will now return to the Saints to help boss Nathan Jones and his squad battle against relegation from the Premier League, as they currently sit bottom of the league table after suffering a 1-0 defeat to Villa on the weekend.
The defender was a key part of Southampton’s squad in recent seasons and has played 153 times for the club since joining from Lech Poznan in 2017.
Boss Jones said: ‘We felt we needed a bit more experience in there. Little bit of a leader, a little bit more of a voice.
‘With the greatest of respect, we’ve got some young centre-halves. Some are in their first season in the Premier League and it’s a tough league.
‘We just felt we need a bit of experience, a little bit of aggression, a little bit of something in there.
‘We could have gone out and signed someone new and left Jan but as someone who knows the players, someone who knows the billing, someone that has played in an aggressive team before, we felt it was a logical one.’
Villa, however, have also allowed midfielder Morgan Sanson sign for French side Strasbourg on loan for the rest of the season, as boss Unai Emery continues to shape his squad the way he likes.
Sanson, who signed for Villa from Olympique Marseille in January 2021, has only made three appearances for Villa so far this campaign.
Emery’s side also confirmed the signing of teenage striker Jhon Duran from Chicago Fire.
The 19-year-old, who has three caps for Colombia, has scored eight goals and set up six more in 28 appearances for Chicago.
Duran will also help fill the void left by the departure of striker Danny Ings, who left Villa Park to join Premier League rivals West Ham United last week.