Much was made about Southampton’s central defensive options over the course of the summer.

Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens deputised well from the turn of the year onwards, but with speculation surrounding Virgil van Dijk, there was plenty of scrutiny regarding the position.

Come September, though, Saints have a rich selection of options in the heart of defence, and have significantly bolstered their back-line.

Both Yoshida and Stephens were rewarded with new deals during the summer window, whilst Van Dijk was kept against the media’s general expectations. Along with this, Jan Bednarek and Wesley Hoedt signed for the club, furthering reinforcing the strength Saints now have at the back.

Pictures on Tuesday emerged of Van Dijk back in full training with the club, indicating that he could be close to a first-team return, if he has a change of heart with regards to his strike. He’s undoubtedly Saints’ best defender, but does he deserve to come straight back in?

It seems somewhat unfair to drop Yoshida or Stephens, or maybe even both, given their performances of late. They’ve been solid for a long time now, and it’d be a ruthless call to bench them given their consistency.

However, Netherlands international Hoedt was signed for big money by Saints’ standards, and will surely be vying to start.

An interesting conundrum presents itself to Mauricio Pellegrino now. Who should be his starting central defensive partnership when Van Dijk returns to match fitness?

Take our poll below to have your say!

Van Dijk and Hoedt

Stephens and Hoedt

Stephens and Yoshida

Van Dijk and Stephens

Yoshida and Hoedt

Yoshida and Van Dijk