Premier League

Forget Nakajima: Fernando Llorente is the striker Southampton must sign in January

Forget Nakajima: Fernando Llorente is the striker Southampton must sign in January

According to a recent report from Record (via talkSPORT), Southampton are interested in a January move for striker Shoya Nakajima. The 24-year-old currently plays his football in Portugal with top tier outfit Portimonense and has done so since the start of last season, with his loan spell at the club turned into a permanent one at the start of 2018.

And reports suggest that Mark Hughes’ struggling Southampton are keen on a deal for the Japan international, yet they should forget about the 24-year-old and instead seek to lure out-of-favour Tottenham man Fernando Llorente to St Mary’s come the New Year.

The Breakdown

Ultimately, no one can doubt the fine start Nakajima has made to life in Portuguese football given he netted ten times for Portimonense last season, and already has four goals and three assists to his name this time round as well.

Yet Hughes’ men are in dire need of someone who will come in and hit the ground running, and given the 24-year-old has never played in England before, and has little over a year of European football under his belt, relying on him to get the goals needed to remain in the Premier League would be a massive risk.

And while Llorente may well be nearing the end of what has been a fine career, the fact that he has proven his worth in English football, and indeed in a relegation battle, makes him the ideal Southampton signing.

The 33-year-old made the move to Spurs back in the summer of 2017 after a season at fellow top-flight outfit Swansea City, which is where he really produced the goods by netting 15 goals in just 33 Premier League games for the South Wales – goals which ultimately kept them in the top tier.

As such, it was no real surprise that the Swans were relegated the season after selling Llorente to Tottenham and indeed Gylfi Sigurdsson to Everton – it was Llorente who was invariably getting on the end of Sigurdsson’s through balls and crosses to net the goals to keep them up.

And that should be of huge interest to Saints boss Hughes, as he is desperately in need of signings in January that he can rely upon to make an immediate impact at the bottom of the division – Llorente has experience of doing just that, and as such could well do so again.

Yes, it isn’t exactly a nod to the future, given the Spain international will turn 34 in February, but Southampton aren’t in a position to worry about the long-term, as if they get it wrong in the short-term, they will be playing in the Championship next season.

So while there is no doubting that Nakajima has ability in the final third and could prove to be an asset to the Saints, signing him would be too big a risk to take – there’s only one striker they must sign in January, and that’s Spurs’ Llorente.

Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!

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