The Southampton fans in the Transfer Tavern are looking forward to a new era under Mark Hughes as the club look to put their dismal 2017/18 campaign behind them.
Mark Hughes earned the respect of the Saints faithful propping up our bar with a promising beginning to his career with the club, but his approach to the transfer market in the next few months could undo the progress he has made so far. With the transfer window open once again, Hughes will be assessing his options and identifying the players he believes can transform Southampton’s fortunes next season, and according the Daily Mirror he is hoping for a reunion with his former Stoke City colleague Xherdan Shaqiri (valued at £16.2 million by Transfermarkt).
According to the report, Southampton and Tottenham are both interested in signing the World Cup bound Swiss star who has a £12 million relegation clause ready for activation following Stoke’s drop into the Championship. Considering the level of quality Shaqiri demonstrated last season within a desperately lacklustre side, Hughes is clearly on the right track with regards to his transfer strategy, as the tenacious playmaker would inject flair and creativity into the club.
However, Hughes should look to complete a double-raid on the Championship by bringing another relegated player to the club, namely Alfie Mawson of Swansea City (valued at £13.5 million by Transfermarkt). Although Southampton’s struggle last season was characterised by their toothless edge in the final-third, there’s no doubt that they were lacking the presence of a commanding defender to keep the back-four organised, but Mawson’s arrival would undoubtedly solve that problem.
Indeed, Southampton supporters may have concerns over the aforementioned players due to the fact they were both relegated last season, but it must be considered that they were both standout players at their respective clubs and clearly deserve to be playing their trade in the top-flight.
In Mawson and Shaqiri, Hughes has a fantastic opportunity to sign two quality players on cut-price deals following their relegation, so the Southampton board must provide him with the necessary funds and secure the signatures of two players who would significantly boost their chances of competing for a top-ten finish next season.
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