Southampton supporters have been making a lot of noise in the Transfer Tavern in the last few weeks after seeing their side avoid relegation from the Premier League despite a woeful season for the club.
Mark Hughes’ men were deep in the relegation mire with just two games of the campaign remaining, but picked up a vital 1-0 success at Swansea City in their penultimate match of the season to move three points clear of the Swans ahead of the final round of fixtures. And with the South Wales outfit unable to beat Stoke City, let alone overturn a nine-goal deficit in the process, the Saints will again be playing Premier League football next term, although things will need shaking up over the summer to make sure they are not in a similar position in 12 months’ time.
As such, several of our resident Southampton fans are looking ahead to the summer and what business their side may seek to conduct, with many intrigued by a recent report from The Sun linking them with Middlesbrough centre back Ben Gibson.
And were they to indeed seal a deal for the £9 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) during the summer, it would go some way to propelling them into European contention next time round.
Ultimately, the Saints were without doubt weakened by the January departure of Virgil van Dijk, who secured a mega money move to Liverpool and has since gone about strengthening their vulnerable backline.
And his vastly improving displays have highlighted to Southampton exactly what they have been missing since his departure, and while the Saints were certainly not the worst side defensively last season, they definitely need to improve if they are to climb the table next time round.
And Gibson’s arrival would certainly help in that department.
The 25-year-old was arguably one of Middlesbrough’s best players in their Premier League relegation campaign of 2017, helping Aitor Karanka’s side to the best defensive record of any side that finished in the bottom half.
Yes, it didn’t help Boro remain in the top-flight, but it certainly raised Gibson’s stock as he also earned a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad back in March 2017 to further underline his status as one of the better English centre backs.
And having appeared in every single one of Boro’s 46 Championship matches this term, the 25-year-old has again proven his worth in a team that have again been pretty solid at the back – ultimately, Gibson is destined to return to the Premier League sooner rather than later.
And Southampton, on the lookout for defensive reinforcements, should give him that chance.
The Saints will no doubt be looking at how they can shake things up over the summer in a bid to avoid another relegation scrap next time round, and bringing in a proven and consistently solid centre back in Gibson would certainly help that.
The squad at St Mary’s is supremely talented – they didn’t record three successive top ten finished for nothing – and as such they are potentially just a few additions away from regaining their place in the top half of the division.
And landing Gibson would certainly aid in their quest to challenge for Europe next time round.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!
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