After suffering from a torrid run of injuries at Anfield, Southampton moved to save Danny Ings’ Liverpool nightmare this summer as they completed a deal worth £20 million to secure his signature, although he will initially join the club on loan before completing a permanent move next summer.
Southampton’s struggle to find the back of the net was one of the most defining characteristics of their entire 2017/18 campaign. Indeed, Mauricio Pellegrino struggled to get the likes of Shane Long, Manolo Gabbiadini and Charlie Austin firing on all cylinders at the spearhead of the attack.
Their struggle in front of goal convinced Mark Hughes to sanction a risky deal – on paper to least – to sign Danny Ings following 3 injury ridden seasons at Liverpool.
Ings arrived at Liverpool in 2015 in a deal worth £7.5 million after impressing with newly-promoted Burnley in the Premier League as both a centre-forward and an inside-forward, and his performances formed the backbone of the Clarets unsuccessful survival bid.
But lady luck was not on Ings’ side as he has since suffered from 2 cruciate ligament injuries in 3 years at Liverpool; suffering 1 injury of that severity is bad enough in 1 footballing career, but to suffer 2 in quick succession is verging on unheard of.
Roberto Firmino’s blistering form last season left Ings with a decision to make this summer and, on the evidence of his bright start to his career on the south coast, it’s fair to say he has made an excellent decision.
After impressing as a second-half substitute against his former club Burnley on the opening day, Hughes handed Ings his first opportunity to impress from the outset against Everton at Goodison Park, and his manager’s faith was rewarded as the 26-year-old striker bagged a quintessential poachers goal to ensure his side went home with a point to show for their efforts.
And his fine form continued on Saturday afternoon as he intelligently placed the ball through the onrushing Wayne Hennessey’s legs at Selhurst Park to set the Saints on their way to a deserved 2-0 victory.
It was no surprise to see that Ings was left out of Gareth Southagate’s England squad for the upcoming fixtures against Spain and Switzerland, with Marcus Rashford and Danny Welbeck preferred as the two options to supplement Harry Kane.
But with Jamie Vardy’s retirement from international football to consider along with the fact Rashford and Welbeck are not regular starters for their respective clubs, Ings has a golden opportunity to prove he is worthy of a place in the national squad before Southgate has to name his next squad in October.
When the transfer is broken down it’s clear that the summer deal was an immensely productive one for all parties concerned: Liverpool made a £12.5 million profit on a player who spent almost three seasons sidelined with injury, Ings has a perfect opportunity to resurrect both his club and international career – particularly with Vardy’s retirement in mind – and Southampton have a striker of genuine quality to spearhead an attack which had previously been labelled as lacklustre, toothless and devoid of inspiration.
Southampton and Liverpool fans – thoughts on Ings’ transfer? Let us know below!