Southampton supporters in the Transfer Tavern are very much looking forward to the 2018/19 Premier League season following the news that manager Mark Hughes has penned a long-term deal with the club.
The former Stoke City and Wales boss took over at St Mary’s back in March following the sacking of Mauricio Pellegrino, who had overseen a woeful campaign with the South Coast outfit deep in the relegation mire at the time of his departure. And while things didn’t get better straight away, 54-year-old Hughes did indeed lead the Saints to safety thanks to crucial successes over Bournemouth and Swansea City, eventually ending up 17th in the table and three points clear of the bottom three.
As such, there are many positive and expectant Southampton fans in the Tavern at present, several of whom are likely to be interested by recent reports linking their club with a move for Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere, who is out of contract later this month.
And were the Saints to indeed seal a deal for the £18 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt), it would provide Mario Lemina with the perfect midfield partner for the 2018/19 Premier League campaign.
Ultimately, last term was something of a disaster for the South Coast outfit, yet Lemina’s efforts in the heart of their midfield were certainly one of a few bright sparks to emerge from the season, with the former Juventus man definitely proving his worth following his summer move from Turin.
In fact, the Gabon international has since been linked with a move away such have been his impressive efforts for the Saints, but were Hughes to keep the 24-year-old at St Mary’s, as well as luring Wilshere to the South Coast, they could strike up quite the midfield partnership.
Both men are hugely adept with the ball at their feet yet Lemina would help provide the sort of industry and strength needed to win midfield battles, thus allowing Wilshere to get forward and affect the play like we all know he can in the final third of the pitch.
And with the pacey Nathan Redmond and Sofiane Boufal down the flanks, and indeed the prolific Charlie Austin in attack, Wilshere could flourish in the heart of the Saints midfield, and perhaps begin re-discovering the form that propelled him to the front of the England pecking order only a few years ago.
And on a free transfer, it could turn out to be a bargain for the Saints in their pursuit of the top ten this season, as a fully fit and firing Wilshere is certainly up there as one of the best midfielders in the Premier League.
Obviously, injury concerns follow the 26-year-old everywhere and have done so for a while now, but given the Saints wouldn’t have to spend a penny on the Englishman, alongside the fact that he played 38 times for Arsenal last term, it’s a risk surely worth taking.
As such, the South Coast club simply must seek to strike a deal for the England international, as doing so would give Lemina his ideal partner in the heart of Southampton’s midfield.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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