Southampton supporters have been pretty jubilant in the Transfer Tavern this week after seeing their team stave off the threat of relegation from the Premier League despite entering the final week in the bottom three.
Mark Hughes’ men were third-bottom with only two matches of the campaign remaining, but sealed a vital 1-0 victory at Swansea City to move three points clear of the Swans, and thus very much in the ascendency heading into the final match of the season. And although the Saints went down 1-0 at home to champions Manchester City, Swansea weren’t able to beat Stoke City let alone overturn a nine-goal deficit to ensure that Southampton will be playing Premier League football come August.
Subsequently, there have been many delighted Saints supporters in the Tavern in recent times, several of whom are looking ahead to the transfer window, and as such will likely be intrigued by recent reports linking their side with a move for Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson.
And while the Englishman would likely be a useful addition to Hughes’ squad, they should forget about him and instead target an audacious move for his £7.2 million-rated Boro teammate Adama Traore (as per Transfermarkt).
Ultimately, while the Saints have certainly missed Virgil van Dijk since his departure for Liverpool back in January, they were reasonably solid defensively last season in conceding the joint-fewest of the sides that finished in the bottom five.
And in Wesley Hoedt, Maya Yoshida, and Jack Stephens, Hughes has some accomplished centre backs to choose from, even if Gibson’s arrival would seriously bolster those ranks ahead of the 2018/19 season.
Nonetheless, it was going forward where Southampton struggled last season, scoring just 37 goals in their 38 Premier League matches, with the likes of Nathan Redmond, Sofiane Boufal, and Dusan Tadic failing to hit the heights over the course of the campaign.
As such, more impetus and flair is certainly needed in the attacking ranks next term if the Saints are to re-establish themselves in the top half of the division, and Traore’s arrival would definitely strengthen that department.
The 22-year-old scored five goals and laid on ten assists for Boro in their run to the Championship play-offs this season, finally producing the goods with some direct contributions after threatening repeatedly throughout their Premier League campaign the season before.
Yes, that campaign and his inability to score and create despite his obvious talent may be of concern to Southampton fans, but it’s clear that Traore is supremely talented and destined for great things.
And the fact he has been able to put his talent towards goals and assists this term can only stand him in good stead for the future – there’s a reason Chelsea and Tottenham are reportedly keen on the 22-year-old.
And Southampton should join that race as well, as although Gibson would be a fine addition, they are in need of a player like Traore who will get at defenders and provide a spark, a spark that was missing this season.
As such, the South Coast outfit should forget about Gibson and instead seek an audacious move for his Boro teammate Traore.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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