Claude Puel must work hard to get Hojbjerg playing like Busquets

It is not every day Pep Guardiola claims to have unearthed the new Sergio Busquets but that is the honour the man regarded by many as the world's greatest tactician bestowed on new Southampton signing Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

The comparison with Barcelona icon Busquets spoke volumes about the faith Guardiola had in his protege Hojbjerg, who this week completed a £12.8million move to Southampton.

Three years after becoming the youngest debutant in Bayern's illustrious history, Hojbjerg, now 20, has swapped the Allianz Arena for St Mary's, believing Southampton's recently appointed French coach Claude Puel is the man to help him realise his as yet largely unfulfilled potential.

The signing of Denmark international Hojbjerg, who has arguably been a more consistent performer for his country than at club level, fits the Southampton philosophy perfectly. He's a raw talent with huge sell-on value over his five-year contract.

Comparisons can be drawn with when Southampton plucked the relatively unknown Sadio Mane from Red Bull Salzburg for a similar price tag two years ago. Mane has just been sold to Liverpool for a fee which is set to reach £38m.

At an imposing 6-foot-1 tall, the former Danish Player of the Year possesses all the physical attributes to make a smooth transition to the blood and thunder of Premier League football and is expected to be asked by Puel to fill the void left by Victor Wayama's £11m move to Tottenham.

Though the cultured Hojbjerg is not as much of a wrecking ball as the Kenyan powerhouse Wanyama, playing as part of two-man holding midfield with Netherlands international Jordy Clasie is a role the new-boy knows well after spending last season on loan from Bayern at Schalke, who use an almost identical 4-2-3-1 formation to his new club.

The question mark over the signing -- which is hardly the marquee buy some Saints fans have been calling for in the wake of the departures of key trio Wanyama, Mane and Graziano Pelle -- is Schalke's reluctance to make the loan permanent.

In 23 Bundesliga appearance at the Veltins-Arena, Hojbjerg's record of no goals and one assists is a poor reflection of his attacking talents. Being paired with the more defensively minded Clasie, Puel will have to put in extra hours on the training ground to encourage Hojbjerg to unleash a more progressive side to his game.

Key to giving the shy and unassuming Hojbjerg the confidence to make an impact in the opposition third of the field will be allowing him enough game time to build up his self-belief and his arrival will also be a test of Puel's man-management skills.

Renowned for his wide range of passing and ability to break up play, the feeling in Germany is that Hojbjerg is yet to display the X-Factor needed to justify Guardiola's bold proclamations, but Puel built his success at Nice on coaxing the best out of youngsters or players -- like Newcastle flop Hatem Ben Arfa -- who had lost their way.

It was this quality which persuaded Southampton's board of directors to choose Puel as successor to Everton-bound Ronald Koeman ahead of several more eye-catching candidates including Premier League title winner Manuel Pellegrini.

If Puel can work his magic with Hojbjerg as he did so impressively with Ben Arfa, then perhaps the Scandinavian will finally prove Guardiola's bold boasts were not so fanciful after all.