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Will this Saints star be missed if he leaves this summer?

The Boot Room

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Victor Wanyama is a player that divides opinion at Southampton. Some fans would love to see the Kenyan stay at Southampton whereas the ever-expanding anti-Wanyama camp can’t wait to see the back of him when he leaves St. Mary’s, which inevitably appears to be this summer. But when the defensive midfielder’s time is up on the south coast, will he be missed?

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It’s a big question and one that many Southampton fans often revert to social media to discuss and debate. The powerful midfielder is young, freakishly strong and can be unbeatable on his day. But you just have to look to where he’s been over the past six weeks or so to see one of the biggest criticisms of his game; his discipline.

The 24-year-old has spent the past six weeks suspended after picking up his third red card of the season in Saints’ win over West Ham in early February. He could be in line for his return to action in Sunday’s clash between Saints and fellow Europa League qualification hopefuls Liverpool. Ronald Koeman had words with Wanyama after the rash challenge on Dimitri Payet that saw him notch his hat trick of red cards for the season, claiming that the Kenyan ‘has to learn from his mistakes’.

He recorded his second red card of the season in the away game against Norwich, when his commitment to Southampton was questioned after two silly challenges got him two yellow cards. It seems to be a common theme that, whilst he can shrug off any player who dares challenge him with complete and utter ease, he still makes naïve challenges that result in him getting punished.

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However, Wanyama’s recent absence provides a strong claim for the pro-Victor camp of Southampton fans. Since Wanyama’s dismissal against the Hammers, Southampton’s impressive run of form and defensive record came to an end, with the Saints winning two, losing two, drawing one and conceding six in the process. Those that want Wanyama to remain at St. Mary’s will point to that slump in form and argue their case for how crucial he is in the middle of the park. His physical presence and combative nature functions as a key cog in the way Southampton play.

When Koeman opts for a back four, he can drop in between the centre backs to allow the full backs to bomb forward, adding security to the defensive line. When Saints play a back three, not only does it give him a slight bit of extra freedom, but he can hold back to allow one of the centre backs to advance forward when they build offensive moves from the back.

However, a feeling amongst Southampton fans is that the St. Mary’s faithful don’t get to see the best of Wanyama on a more frequent basis. The Kenyan seems to be a shadow of the player that partnered Morgan Schneiderlin in Southampton’s midfield last season, leading to suggestions that the now Manchester United midfielder made Wanyama look better than he is. Wanyama’s most notable performances this season have coincidently come against the ‘bigger’ teams. It seems as though Wanyama sees those games as a job interview with his contract reaching its final year in the summer and the 24-year-old having itchy feet to leave the club.

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His pre-season this campaign was blighted by throwing his toys out of the pram when he was denied a move to re-join former boss Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs – a case of déjà vu for the Southampton board after an identical scenario with Morgan Schneiderlin the summer before. Wanyama had the perfect opportunity to replicate the man who he formed a formidable relationship with for two years at St. Mary’s.

Schneiderlin got over his initial tantrum, knuckled down, performed admirably and left Southampton in a positive and respectful manner to a club who, at that moment in time, were in a better position than Spurs. Wanyama had that opportunity this season but his reaction to being refused a transfer has been the complete opposite to that of Schneiderlin.

It seems inevitable that Southampton will be forced to offload Wanyama this summer with it not looking likely that the Kenyan will sign a new contract. A move for Wanyama in the summer will see Saints have to settle for a fee lower than his market value but that won’t bother Ronald Koeman who has built up a reputation of being very shrewd with his transfer dealings.

Schneiderlin’s replacement Jordy Clasie has looked better with each game after a slow and difficult start, and Chelsea misfit Oriol Romeu was a great piece of business by Koeman after impressing this season. The duo arrived at Southampton for just over the £12.5m Southampton splashed on Wanyama showing Koeman’s ability to grab a bargain. Both Clasie and Romeu in addition to set piece specialist James Ward-Prowse, who’s yet to make a midfield position his own, and the hunger and exuberance of the highly rated Harrison Reed provides a strong competitive foundation to Southampton’s midfield if and when Wanyama leaves Southampton.

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Wanyama’s physical presence and ability to bully players in order to dominate the midfield will definitely be missed, but the aptly nicknamed ‘Mighty Kenyan’ will be much easier to replace than Morgan Schneiderlin. So, all in all, will Southampton miss Victor Wanyama if he was to leave this summer? For sure. Is he irreplaceable? Absolutely not.

Featured Image – All Rights Reserved by David Price.

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Liverpool

Southampton is the ideal destination for Liverpool forward Danny Ings

The Liverpool forward has had a torrid time on Merseyside

Liam Thomas

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Danny Ings
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Liverpool signed Danny Ings back in 2015 after the forwards terrific season with Burnley earned him a big money move to Anfield. However, largely due to injuries, the Englishman’s time on Merseyside has been spent on the sidelines.

With the new Premier League season edging closer, it looks as if Ings’ time at the Reds may be coming to an end and, according to The Sun, Southampton are keen on bringing the forward to St. Mary’s to head up their forward line.

Liverpool rate Ings at £20 million but the Saints will be looking to require his signature for half that price given the forward’s recent injury record and there seems no better destination for him to rediscover the form that saw him leave Burnley for Anfield.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Southampton was the club it all started for Ings, with the forward playing for Saints as a schoolboy. Now the Englishman is fighting fit and ready to go, it seems the South coast outfit would offer him the first team action he needs to become a prolific goalscorer once again.

A fresh start is exactly what Ings needs to reignite his Premier League career and, at 25 years of age, he still has a lot left in the tank to give some of his best years to Mark Hughes’ team.

If the Liverpool forward could rediscover the form that saw him score 43 times in 139 appearances for Burnley, Southampton could profit hugely.

Are the Saints the team for Ings to finally rediscover that fortune? Given a little bit of confidence and a run of minutes under his belt, St.Mary’s could become the perfect playground for the forward to flourish.

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Southampton

Five ins and outs Southampton could complete this week

A new striker is reportedly a top priority for Mark Hughes’ side.

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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.

(Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)

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.

(Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

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.

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Southampton

Three summer signings that would lead Southampton back into Europe

Mark Hughes needs to open his transfer kitty if the Saints are to return to Europe.

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Southampton
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Southampton endured a difficult season in the Premier League last term and need to be active in the market this summer to bolster their ranks.

A turbulent campaign saw the Saints finish 17th, just three points above the relegation zone, which represents a huge decline in the past two seasons where Europa League football was secured.

Mark Hughes was a controversial appointment last term but he managed to steady the ship on the south coast and he now needs to utilise Southampton’s impressive strategy in the market, which has seen the Saints secure a number of bargain deals.

Southampton need to do the same again this summer, although they may be forced to spend big for some targets due to the rise in market prices.


“It’s important fresh faces come in. It’s not necessarily deliberate but as a consequence of players moving on, contracts finishing. There’s an opportunity to bring players in. There’s always a churn at the end of the year.”

Southampton manager Mark Hughes on the transfer window.


Jack Butland – Stoke City

Relegated with Stoke City last term, England international Jack Butland needs to be back in the Premier League if he is to knock Jordan Pickford off his perch as number one for the Three Lions.

While he has been linked with Chelsea and Liverpool, Southampton could be the ideal fit.

Now 25, Butland has plenty of years ahead of him and could enter the prime years of his career on the south coast – and a deal would suit Southampton’s transfer strategy as he would present tremendous sell-on value in the future.

There is no doubt that Butland will end up at a ‘big’ club eventually but Southampton should be the next step on his quest for stardom.

(Photo by Paul Ellis/Getty Images)

Marlon Santos – Barcelona

With West Ham seemingly ending their pursuit of Marlon Santos, Southampton have been left as the frontrunners to secure the services of the Barcelona outcast as they look to find a replacement for Virgil Van Dijk following his January switch to Liverpool.

Sport state the deal for the 22-year-old Brazil defender will cost just €13 million (£10.6m) and that presents another opportunity for Southampton to continue to earn financial stability by purchasing relatively low before selling for a high price.

After a successful stint on-loan in Ligue 1 with OGC Nice, Southampton would be wise to tempt Santos to switch the French Riviera for Hampshire.

(Photo by Valery Hache/Getty Images)

Andrea Petagna – Atlanta

It is no secret that Southampton desperately need a new striker and it seems the man they have in their sights is Italy forward Andrea Petagna, although Tuttomercatoweb claim newly-promoted Wolves also have the same idea.

Just 23, Petagna is another player who can be developed at St. Mary’s following a campaign where he scored six goals and contributed a further seven assists in Serie A for Atalanta. Already capped once by Italy in 2017, he could become a regular for his nation in the future.

Reportedly available for a measly sum of just £9m, Petagna could be the final piece to the puzzle in Southampton’s rejuvenated attacking line following the £16 million capture of Mohamed Elyounoussi.

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