Goals have been in short supply for Southampton in pre-season. And after the Saints drew a blank during an uninspired 0-0 draw with Watford, head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl took some solace in pointing out that the Saints at least have time on their side as they look to add some bite to an often toothless frontline.
“Definitely. (We are) definitely looking for more,” the former RB Leipzig boss tells Hampshire Live after being forced to deploy Stuart Armstrong at the tip of his blunt attack.
So, even after the £13 million signing of Sekou Mara from Bordeaux, expect a couple of new faces through the door before September’s deadline, even if Southampton field operating on a fraction of the budget enjoyed by many a Premier League rival.
Here are five of the most likely arrivals at St Mary’s this month.
Liam Delap – Manchester City
Manchester City have absolutely no intention of letting one of their most talented youngsters go on a permanent deal. A short-term loan, however, well that may be a very different story.
Armando Broja was a revelation on loan from Chelsea last term, departing an unproven youngster and returning a £30 million Premier League star. Broja’s rapid-fire development on the South Coast won’t have gone unnoticed by other top-flight clubs with hungry youngsters in need of game time.
And Delap, a 6ft 1ins number nine with 32 goals in 32 PL2 matches for Man City, could do worse than to look at Broja for inspiration.
According to Fabrizio Romano, Southampton made a £16 million bid in July. A bit of recalibration is required, but this is still a deal that could be struck.
Emmanuel Dennis – Watford
According to The Express, Southampton have already held talks with the Nigeria international’s representative. And while Dennis started Watford’s Championship opener last weekend, few are expecting him to still be around come September.
Tricky and direct, Dennis was one of the Premier League’s most underrated attackers in 2021/22. 10 goals and six assists is a more-than-respectable return. Certainly for a top-flight newcomer plying his trade for a club that would end the season in the relegation zone.
Dennis would represent an immediate upgrade on Nathan Redmond and Moussa Djenepo too.
Samuel Edozie – Manchester City
Tino Livramento arrived last summer without a single Premier League appearance on his CV. He ended the season as one of the division’s breakthrough stars, amid some very public praise from none other than England boss Gareth Southgate.
Reports from The Mail, saying that Southampton could hi-jack Bayer Leverkusen’s £5 million Samuel Edozie deal, suggests the Saints are looking to replicate Livramento’s success with another fresh-faced teenager concerned about a lack of opportunities at a behemoth of a club.
“He’s an incredible young player with good pace,” Guardiola said of Edozie last year, hailing his eye for goal.
Alex Collado – Barcelona
A gifted and typically technical playmaker, 23-year-old Collado appears to be in a battle he cannot win. Not with Gavi, Pedri, Frenkie de Jong and more ahead of him in the Barcelona pecking order.
According to Fabrizio Romano, the stylish, cultured Collado has asked Xavi to let him go. Southampton are long-time admirers, for Gianluca di Marzio, and would benefit from the Spaniard’s eye-of-the-needle passing in the final third.
Marcus Pedersen – Feyenoord
Southampton’s reputation as a club who takes uncut gems and turns them into high-carat diamonds certainly hasn’t passed Pedersen by.
“I am a player never been afraid to take another step,” the Norway international said in July.
“Southampton has shown for years that they can develop young talents and sell them on to bigger clubs.”
A rampaging right-back, Pedersen insists that he has not yet spoken to the Saints directly, amid rumors about a move to England (The Athletic). But with Livramento still absent after knee surgery – and with Kyle Walker-Peters excelling on the left – this is one to watch over the next three weeks or so.
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