Southampton supporters in the Transfer Tavern are eagerly anticipating the 2018/19 Premier League season, what with Mark Hughes remaining as the club’s manager after expertly leading them to safety last term.
The 54-year-old took over at St Mary’s back in March of this year to replace the sacked Mauricio Pellegrino, what with the Saints very much in relegation trouble after a hopeless campaign up until that point. Yet the ex-Stoke City chief did exactly what was asked by leading the South Coast outfit to key victories over Bournemouth and Swansea City late on in the season to secure their Premier League status, eventually finishing 17th in the division and three points clear of danger.
Thus, there are many delighted Southampton fans up and down the country, although several are well aware that the squad needs seriously improvement this summer if they are to climb the table this time round.
And with the hugely talented Mohamed Elyounoussi through the door, Hughes should seek to further bolster his blunt attacking ranks with the addition of £9 million-rated Nacer Chadli (as per Transfermarkt).
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The 28-year-old may well have been part of a West Brom side relegated from the top-flight last season, but injury restricted the Belgium international to just five Premier League appearances for the Baggies, thus he was unable to have a genuine say in their survival chances.
And that will be of particular frustration to West Brom fans given how impressive Chadli has looked at this summer’s World Cup, with the winger appearing in four of Belgium’s five matches en route to the semi-finals, netting in their thrilling comeback win over Japan in the last-16.
And the 28-year-old’s efforts should be of interest to Hughes and the Southampton hierarchy, as the Saints seriously struggled in the attacking department last term.
The likes of Sofiane Boufal and Nathan Redmond failed to deliver the goods over the course of the campaign while Dusan Tadic has since joined Ajax, leaving Hughes somewhat short of genuine quality despite the arrival of the exciting Elyounoussi.
Yet were Chadli to translate his Belgium form when in a Saints shirt, he could be the ideal addition to Hughes’ ranks this season, as the South Coast outfit seek to return to the top half of the Premier League, where they finished in each of the four seasons prior to the last one.
Not only did the 28-year-old do reasonably well in his first campaign at West Brom, netting five goals and five assists for the Baggies, but he also proved his worth during a stint at Tottenham, scoring 25 goals and laying on 16 assists in a three-year spell in North London – thus, he’s clearly got what it takes to succeed in the top-flight.
And given West Brom’s relegation to the Championship, alongside Chadli’s fine efforts at this summer’s World Cup, Southampton must seek to make the ideal summer addition in luring the 28-year-old to St Mary’s.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know