Whilst all eyes are turned towards the battle at the bottom, the announcement of Florent Hadergjonaj’s permanent switch from Ingolstadt to Huddersfield Town came somewhat as a surprise.
The focus for many, myself included, is on Town’s immediate future and whether David Wagner’s side can defy the odds once again to secure their Premier League status for a second successive season.
Despite this, there is a sense that David Wagner’s vision goes beyond the short-termism that we immediately associate with Premier League football and the cut-throat nature of the English top flight.
In fact, many scoffed when Dean Hoyle made the bold claim that David Wagner would not be sacked, no matter how this Premier League season went.
However, it’s apparent that David Wagner has a desire to lay the foundations for Town’s future in the top flight and his signings have been reflective of that.
The arrival of Steve Mounié (23) and Terrence Kongolo (24), even on a temporary basis, were examples of this and the permanent acquisition of Florent Hadergjonaj (23) is also synonymous with that long-term aim.
Rather than falling into the trap of obsessing about Premier League experience, David Wagner has cleverly scoured the market, both domestically and abroad, to find young hungry players with room for improvement.
Florent Hadergjonaj falls precisely into that category.
Following his single season in the Bundesliga, Hadergjonaj’s talent was apparent. The question was, would his skill set and his individual style suit English football and Huddersfield Town?
Considering a string of excellent performances have seen Hadergjonaj usurp Town’s current captain Tommy Smith, the answer to that question was a resounding yes.
From his tenacity and work ethic to his fearlessness and front-foot nature, Hadergjonaj has shown over the course of this season that he has the competitive edge needed to fit Wagner’s philosophy and he fits Huddersfield Town.
Of course, like any player, Hadergjonaj has his limitations and areas to improve. In his particular case, Hadergjonaj’s positioning has been his main drawback.
However, already this season, we have seen Hadergjonaj grow in stature and confidence as the season has progressed. He has proved to be a constant bundle of energy from the right-back position.
Under the watchful guidance of Wagner, Hadergjonaj’s development will continue. Like so many of Wagner’s signings over the course of the past two seasons, we see how Wagner has found a way to get the most out of the vibrant Swiss full-back.
With Wagner’s influence alone, Hadergjonaj is in the ideal environment to develop and grow whilst competing against some of the very best, not only in England but in Europe as a whole.
In isolation, the acquisition of Florent Hadergjonaj is undoubtedly a coup considering the potential and ability that the Swiss international has demonstrated at times, this season.
However, it is when looking at the broader picture, that we see the signing is symbolic of something far greater. It is is a demonstration of the foundations being laid for the future and Florent Hadergjonaj has a big role to play in that.