Southampton supporters have been more upbeat in the Transfer Tavern in recent days after seeing their side record their first win in nine matches by edging past Fulham 1-0 in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
Mauricio Pellegrino’s men were stuck in a rut of just four points out of possible 27 in the Premier League prior to Saturday’s visit to Craven Cottage, where the Saints boss really needed a win to ease the pressure mounting on his shoulders. And his side were just about able to do that as a James Ward-Prowse effort 16 minutes before half time was enough to book their place in the last 32 of the world’s oldest club competition, where they will host fellow top-flight outfit Watford at the end of the month.
Consequently, there have been many satisfied Southampton fans in the Tavern in the last few days, several of whom are hoping their club can bring in reinforcements during the January transfer window in a bid to stave off the very real threat of relegation.
Unsurprisingly, the South Coast outfit have been linked with a whole host of names already this month, but to start scoring the goals needed to start climbing the table, they should seek to reignite their interest in Kelechi Iheanacho, who was reportedly subject of Saints interest prior to moving to Leicester City in the summer.
Yet things simply haven’t worked out for the Nigeria international at the King Power Stadium, but with Pellegrino’s men in need of a goal-scorer to climb the Premier League table, they could do a lot worse than try and bring the £13.5 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) to St Mary’s this month.
Yes, it hasn’t gone to plan for the 21-year-old since his summer move to the East Midlands, with just one Carabao Cup goal to show for his efforts, but that shouldn’t detract from the excellent goal-scoring form he produced at Manchester City in the years preceding his Leicester spell.
The striker bagged an impressive 21 goals in just 64 games for the Citizens, 12 of which came in the Premier League, and given that he was often used off the bench, that gave him a ratio of one goal every 101 minutes in a City shirt.
And while many will argue that scoring in a City team with the wealth of attacking talent behind him is easier than scoring at Southampton, it’s worth noting that, outside of the Premier League’s top six, the Saints have created more chances this term than anyone else (210) – for what it’s worth, Leicester have created just 159.
Thus, this would suggest that the issue is actually putting the ball in the back of the net as opposed to what comes before it – there’s no coincidence that they are a better side when Charlie Austin plays, as he is their only out-and-out goal-scorer, although injury looks set to keep him out for a few months.
As such, a move for Iheanacho is vital to Southampton’s hopes of climbing the division in the second half of the season. In Austin’s absence, they need someone to put the ball in the back of the net, and Iheanacho has proven before that he can do just that – who knows where the Saints may be had they managed to beat Leicester to his signature over the summer.
And with Leicester reportedly willing to offload the Nigerian star this month, it’s better late than never attempting to land the 21-year-old, as he could well hold the chance to their chances of climbing the table, and thus give going in search of a fifth successive top ten finish in the Premier League.
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