After narrowly avoiding relegation from the Premier League last season, pressure is on Mark Hughes as Southampton look to climb the standings in 2018-19.
The Saints have already bolstered their ranks with the captures of Jannik Vestergaard, Mohamed Elyounoussi, Angus Gunn and Stuart Armstong but continue to be active in the market in pursuit of further additions.
With finances delicately poised, exits from the south coast are also likely and the upcoming week could prove to be a busy one for Southampton. Here, we have identified five reported deals that could go ahead.
Danny Ings: Liverpool
After an injury-plagued spell at Liverpool, Danny Ings is seen as surplus to requirements for Jurgen Klopp ahead of the new season and Southampton have emerged as candidates to land the services of the 25-year-old forward.
The Sun states Liverpool want £20m for the striker’s services but Southampton are prepared to only offer half of that figure, with additions based around his appearances and performances – although they face competition in the market from Crystal Palace.
Hughes is looking to bolster his attacking options ahead of the new campaign and Ings could be the ideal signing if he puts his injury problems behind him.
Fraser Forster leaving on-loan
England international Fraser Forster could be leaving the St. Mary’s Stadium following the club’s signing of Angus Gunn from Manchester City, as the 22-year-old is expected to become first-choice for Southampton next term.
The Daily Mail state the Saints are prepared to offload the 30-year-0ld and may ask the former Celtic man to leave on-loan, with the same paper claiming Forster was previously a target for Leeds United before the Lilywhites signed Jamal Blackman from Chelsea.
Unnamed Premier League sides are said to be interested in Forster, who last played for Southampton in the 5-2 defeat to Tottenham on Boxing Day.
Andrea Petagna: Atalanta
Another reported striking target for Southampton, it could be possible that the Saints sign two more strikers before the close of the transfer window – especially if the first player through the door is the injury-prone Danny Ings.
Tuttomercatoweb first reported Southampton’s interest in Atalanta striker Andrea Petagna at the end of June and rumours surrounding the 23-year-old striker continue to float around, though he is also a target for newly-promoted Wolves.
With four goals and five assists in Serie A last season, Petagna is hardly the most prolific striker but could present a decent option for Southampton.
Sam Gallagher to Sheffield United or Blackburn
The Sun on Sunday (July 15, page 59) state both Sheffield United and Blackburn Rovers are interested in the services of Southampton striker Sam Gallagher, who looks poised to leave if Mark Hughes secures a deal for a new forward.
22-year-old Gallagher previously enjoyed a successful loan stint with Blackburn in the season before last and has a total of 17 goals in 89 Championship appearances, 11 of which came for Blackburn in the 2016-17 campaign.
However, a deal for the two second-tier clubs could be difficult to negotiate on a permanent basis due to his reported £24k-a-week wages.
Iago Falque: Torino
Another forward target for Southampton, Tuttosport have named the Saints as one of numerous clubs interested in the services of Torino attacker Iago Falque alongside West Ham, Leicester, Sevilla and Valencia.
Now 28, the former Tottenham man has got his career back-on-track in Italian football and has become a crucial player for Torino, scoring 12 goals in 35 appearances last season – adding to the 12 he netted in the previous year on-loan in Turin from Roma.
Torino, understandably, do not want to lose the services of one of their top performers and it could take a considerable offer to begin negotiations with the Serie A side.
One winner and loser from Southampton’s pre-season campaign
The Saints go marching into a new campaign under Mark Hughes.
Southampton are hoping for a much more stable season this term under Mark Hughes, after a disappointing campaign last year.
The Saints have spent this summer to draft in the likes of Jannik Vestergaard and Mohamed Elyounoussi, while a Deadline Day deal was completed yesterday for the services of Danny Ings on loan from Premier League rivals Liverpool.
Here, we have identified one winner and one loser from the club’s pre-season campaign.
Winner: Danny Ings
It may seem strange that the man set to benefit most from pre-season is a player who is yet to kick a ball for Southampton but that is the case for Danny Ings, after it became clear the Saints desperately need an attacking boost.
Before the arrival of the former Burnley man, Southampton looked extremely toothless in the final third and were left crying out for a player to provide an impact – which may work in Ings’ favour, as he’s looking to get his career back-on-track after numerous injury problems during his spell at Anfield.
That is a concern for Southampton, as there is no guarantees he will remain fit, which could leave fans praying throughout the campaign.
“The two clubs obviously had to come to an arrangement where they were comfortable with the deal on offer and in the end we got to the point where it was a win win situation for both clubs and, more importantly, for Danny as well, because he’s come to a club he’s clearly got a lot of affection for and maybe a point to prove.”
Loser: Wesley Hoedt
A regular in defence throughout pre-season, Wesley Hoedt was arguably the worst performer of the lot for Southampton and is leaves Mark Hughes with a major decision to make ahead of tomorrow’s opening clash against Burnley.
Many fans are calling for Ryan Bertrand to play centrally, providing more opportunities for Matt Targett down the left side, and that could materialise after he remained at the club on Deadline Day despite continued interest from Fulham.
The signing of Vestergaard could also lead to decreased opportunities for the Dutch defender, who played 28 matches for the Saints last term.
Fulham’s Joe Bryan hijack surely means Matt Targett will stay at Southampton
The left-back spent the end of last season on loan at Fulham.
Fulham have hijacked a move for Bristol City left-back Joe Bryan. It appeared the player was on his way to Aston Villa in a £6 million deal. However, as reported by Sky Sports, Fulham’s 11th hour move has left Aston Villa gutted and Bryan on the cusp of Premier League football.
But whilst Aston Villa may be left devastated by the decision of Bryan, it will be music to the ears for Southampton.
This summer the Saints have been working hard to keep Matt Targett at the club. He spent the second half of last season on loan at Fulham and thrived at Craven Cottage. The 22-year-old is therefore in Mark Hughes plans for the upcoming season, but Fulham have been tempting them with offers all summer.
Most recently, as reported by the Mirror, Fulham were willing to pay around £15 million for the player.
Eventually, Southampton would have found it hard to keep him. But the England under-21 international is now unlikely to head to Fulham with Bryan on his way to the Cottage.
Next season the young Southampton talent will be expected to battle it out with Ryan Bertrand for the number one left-back spot. Indeed, he could even find himself in a back-three if he performs like he did for Fulham last term.
And it looks like it might work out for all parties with another Southampton left-back, Sam McQueen, set to join Bristol City as Bryan’s replacement.
Southampton will now need to ensure they use Targett sensibly, as he could become a major asset to the club in the years to come.
Five ins and outs Southampton could complete on Deadline Day
Southampton could be set for a busy day.
Mark Hughes faces a tough ask at Southampton this season as the club looks to bounce back from a disappointing campaign last term.
The Saints have landed impressive signings that include Mohamed Elyounoussi and Jannik Vestergaard this summer but further deals could be on the horizon on Deadline Day, concerning both ins and outs.
Here, we have identified five pieces of business Southampton could complete before the 5pm deadline.
Matt Targett to Fulham
With Ryan Bertrand well established as first choice at Southampton, speculation has circulated for a while concerning Matt Targett after his successful stint on loan with Fulham in the second half of last season – and the Cottagers want a permanent deal.
TeamTalk states Fulham have lodged an improved bid of around £14m to bring the 23-year-old full-back to Craven Cottage and will push to complete a deal before the deadline, with Southampton potentially open to offers.
Targett came through the youth ranks on the south coast and has made 27 Premier League appearances.
Stanislav Lobotka: Celta Vigo
A late swoop for Celta Vigo midfielder Stanislav Lobotka is said to be on the table from Southampton, who are keen to bolster their ranks in the middle of the park amidst speculation suggesting that exits could be on the cards.
The Times states Southampton have made an approach worth around £20m for the Slovakia international, also said to be a target for Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain, with the LaLiga side rejecting the bid and demanding any party matches his release clause.
According to The Evening Standard, that figure stands at £31m.
James Ward-Prowse to Watford
Southampton could be tempted to cash in on James Ward-Prowse on Deadline Day amidst interest from Watford, with Mark Hughes already having the likes of Oriol Romeu and Mario Lemina to choose from in central midfield.
The Sun states Javi Gracia’s Watford have made an approach worth around £10m for Ward-Prowse, while Sky Sports claim the offer from the Hornets is a loan deal – although Southampton seem reluctant to approve a departure.
23-year-old Ward-Prowse made 30 appearances for the Saints last term, scoring three goals and contributing three assists.
Martin Montoya: Valencia
Southampton are eyeing a Deadline Day move for Valencia’s former Barcelona defender Martin Montoya, according to reports, as Mark Hughes looks to bolster his defensive ranks with the services of the right-back.
FootballInsider states both Southampton and Brighton are vying for the services of the 27-year-old, who has fallen down the pecking order at the Champions League side following their capture of Cristiano Piccini.
Valencia are happy to listen to offers but time is running out and Real Betis hold an advantage in negotiations, as they can discuss a deal until the end of August.
Sam McQueen leaving on loan
A deal that is likely to hinge heavily on whether Matt Targett remains at Southampton today or returns to Fulham, it has been reported that Bristol City are keen to land Sam McQueen from the Saints as a replacement for Joe Bryan.
That’s according to FootballInsider, who state the Robins want a replacement for Bryan who, in a late twist, is set to snub an approach from Aston Villa in order to seal a move to Fulham – which could then end the Cottagers’ interest in Targett.
With the Football League’s loan window not closing until the end of August, Bristol still have plenty of time to negotiate a deal.
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