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Southampton

Will Juventus’ Mario Lemina be a good signing for Southampton?

Jake Jackman

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Mario Lemina

Southampton have been relatively quiet during the summer transfer window, with only one first-team addition, but they could be ready to make a statement ahead of the Premier League season.

Sky Sports report that the club have agreed a deal with Juventus for midfielder Mario Lemina. The fee is believed to be an initial £16 million that could rise to £20 million if certain clauses are met. The Serie A club have confirmed that he will be leaving Turin and it is looking like his new club will be the Saints.

Lemina is expected to undergo a medical on Monday and become Mauricio Pellegrino’s second signing as Southampton manager. There had been other interest in the midfielder, with Stoke City holding talks with Juventus on Friday, according to the same source, but he has opted for a move to St Mary’s Stadium.

The Gabon international has struggled to get regular game time in Turin and that will be the main motivation behind the move.

What will he bring to Southampton?

The midfielder has been regarded as a huge talent since joining Juventus and he has shown flashes of his ability in Serie A, despite getting fewer first-team opportunities than he would have liked.

He has a good physical presence, as he uses his body well when he has possession and possesses pace to burst past an opposition player. The 23-year-old will suggest his best position is as a box-to-box midfielder, as he can contribute in both halves of the pitch. That said, he is versatile and capable of playing in a number of different roles and positions.

He isn’t afraid to get stuck in and has an aggressive side to his personality that he harnesses well when the other team have the ball. At times this can get the better of him and lead to poor discipline on the pitch. Lemina isn’t the finished article and that is why Southampton are able to sign him. However, under the right manager, he could develop into one of the better midfielders in the Premier League.

Will he be a good signing?

This one is looking very likely as it is being reported by Sky Sports, the more reliable news source in the UK. They rarely report transfers unless they are at an advanced stage and the line about the impending medical suggests this is almost complete.

Southampton have been quiet in the window, but it was important that they added quality and not quantity to push on under their new manager. They already have one of the better squads outside of the top-six and Lemina would be a good option to add to that.

Southampton already have a good pool of central midfield options, but they don’t possess a player that has the athleticism of Lemina. He will add a different profile and could prove to be the perfect player in the transition phase, as he can provide powerful bursts forward with the ball.

This one has come out of the blue and it represents a coup for the South Coast club. Although the Gabon international isn’t the complete player yet, he has the tools to become an excellent midfielder. It is now up to Southampton to help him reach that level.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Bristol City

Sam McQueen linked but losing Joe Bryan would hurt Bristol City

The Englishman has been at Ashton Gate since 15 years of age.

Josh Kerr

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Joey Bryan
Photo: Getty Images

According to the Bristol Post, Bristol City are being linked with Southampton‘s Sam McQueen as the club’s replacement for full-back Joe Bryan, meaning the South-West club could be preparing for life without the 24-year-old, who has made over 229 appearances for the club.

The Robins ultimately look set to lose Bryan during the summer transfer window with Burnley, Everton and Aston Villa all keen on signing the left-back. With only a year left on his contract at Ashton Gate, the club could be tempted to cash-in for the home grown defender, for a fee of around £6 million.

Despite McQueen being a sensible replacement for City, his arrival wouldn’t quite soften the blow of losing Bryan, who has quickly established himself as one of the best all-round defenders in the EFL Championship.

The full-back has been with the side since he was 15 years of age and has gone on to become one of their most important players. Many will remember the 24-year-old’s wonder strike to help beat Premier League giants Manchester United in the Carabao Cup quarter-final, after a display that saw him named man-of-the-match.

(Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Losing a player of his calibre will not help the club’s attempts to challenge for the play-offs next season. Considering the club were in contention for a top two place as recently as Christmas, it is difficult to comprehend the board selling one of their best players.

The Robins sat second in the Championship during the festive period but went on to finish a disappointing 11th after only picking up 20 points from their final 22 games.

Lee Johnson reportedly sees McQueen, who was told he can quite St Mary’s this summer, as the most likely replacement for Bryan this summer, if the right offer comes in for the latter’s services.

The Saints defender played 22 times in the 2017/18 season, mostly from the bench, but is a player who could definitely prove his worth.

At 23, he still has years to improve and with a full Championship season under his belt, he could emerge a shrewd replacement for long-term servant Bryan.

However, the news won’t float well with City fans who would prefer to keep their homegrown player, rather than attempt to replace him.

Nonetheless, with a year left on his contract, cashing in on the £6 million talent, while bringing in Sam McQueen, could prove a smart piece of business from the Robins.

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Southampton

Mark Hughes appointment offers Southampton much needed stability

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Photo: Getty Images.

Southampton are closing in on making an appointment as their manager for 2018/19 and beyond with reports indicating that Mark Hughes will extend his initial short term stay with a three year contract.

Sky Sports say that talks are ongoing with an agreement nearing between the two parties as the Saints look to bounce back having narrowly avoided relegation from the Premier League as one of the most disappointing performers over the past season.

It came after yet another managerial change last summer, with Claude Puel being dismissed and Mauricio Pellegrino appointed. The Argentinian lasted less than a year and was fired in March, too late from the point of view of many fans, with Hughes brought into to rescue the team.

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Hughes may not be the most glamorous and exciting of appointments, lacking the unknown factor that the likes of Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman has in the past, but he does bring in Premier League experience and much needed stability.

Since taking over in March, he managed 1.10 points per match, compared to 1.09 for Pellegrino before him, but he did turn things around and save the team from the drop, with a new mentality getting the best out of some of the many players who had been underperforming.

Southampton have not had the same manager for more than two years since Nigel Adkins got the team promoted from the third tier back to the Premier League, and with a long-term contract Hughes could be that man.

After years of frequent change, cashing in on those who performed well and losing managers, for the first time in 2017/18 the gamble backfired and almost cost the club dearly. An investment in stability is the best logical next step.

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Celtic

Celtic playmaker Tom Rogic could be a star at Southampton

The 25-year-old is out of contract at Celtic next summer.

The Boot Room

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Photo: Getty Images

Celtic playmaker Tom Rogic is attracting clubs from all over the world but Premier League side Southampton are reportedly the latest team to be interested in throwing their hat in the mix for the Australian international.

According to reports from BBC Sport, Mark Hughes is very impressed with Brendan Rodgers’ 25-year-old star, who has played a vital role in Celtic’s treble-chasing side this season.

Rogic has a respectable eight goals and eight assists, despite being injured for a large chunk of the season, and could represent an impressive signing for Hughes and his Saints side, who last night looked to have ensured their Premier League survival after beating relegation rivals Swansea 1-0.

The Australian born midfielder may be interested in returning to England after progressing through the ranks at the Nike Academy in St George’s Park before making it professionally in his home country.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Southampton are, arguably, England’s best at spotting young talent and, at only 25, the midfielder definitely has his best days ahead of him. Hughes should ensure those are seen in the Premier League rather than the SPL.

Rogic’s technical ability and range of passing are up there with the best in the league and Celtic’s number 18 has scored some crucial goals this season.

He displayed his importance to Rodgers side and showed his goalscoring threat when he netted Celtic’s fourth in a 5-0 win over Old Firm rivals Rangers last Sunday, in which the Hoops clinched their seventh consecutive Scottish league title.

It not only displayed his goalscoring prowess but also how he has been a thorn in the side for the Gers. This was his fourth goal in four games against their Old Firm rivals.

However, despite Rogic hunting down yet another treble with Celtic, the midfielder only has one-year left on his contract and this may tempt Rodgers to cash in on the midfielder rather than wait and risk losing him on a free transfer.

This would spur the perfect opportunity for the Saints to bid for the midfielder and take an outstanding technically gifted player who would certainly thrive in the Premier League.

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