According to a recent report from Record (via talkSPORT), Southampton are eyeing up a January move for striker Shoya Nakajima. The 24-year-old currently plays his football in Portugal for top-flight side Portimonense and has done so since moving there permanently at the start of the year, and it looks like his decent start to life in the Primeira Liga has attracted the interest of Mark Hughes’ Saints.
The South Coast outfit, in dire need of reinforcements in the New Year in a bid to fend off Premier League relegation, are reportedly keen on the 24-year-old, but after the shambles surrounding the move for striker Guido Carrillo in January of this year, the Saints risk making another blunder this time round with £13.5 million-rated Nakajima (as per Transfermarkt).
Ultimately, Argentine forward Carrillo was drafted in by former manager Mauricio Pellegrino for very similar reasons to why there is now interest in Japan international Nakajima, as his Saints side needed an injection of impetus in the final third to negate the threat of relegation.
And the South Coast club broke their transfer record to lure the 27-year-old away from French side Monaco to aid in their survival quest, only for the striker to disastrously flop in failing to score at all for Southampton in the second half of last season.
In fact, Hughes has since shipped the forward out on loan to Leganes, incidentally where Pellegrino is now managing, to underline just how far down the pecking order Carrillo is at St Mary’s – this all despite proving his worth at Monaco in bagging 21 times in two-and-a-half years at the Stade Louis II.
Thus, the Saints must be wary of making the same mistake this time round with Nakajima, as like Carrillo the 24-year-old has no prior experience of English football, and scoring goals in the Portuguese top-flight doesn’t necessarily mean he has what it takes to succeed in the Premier League.
The Japanese star, capped four times by his country this year, made the move to Portimonense initially on loan at the start of the 2017/18 season before making that move permanent in January, and no wonder given he went on to finish the campaign with ten goals to his name.
And with four goals and three assists already this time round in just eight league appearances, the 24-year-old is continuing where he left off at the end of last season to suggest that he could well be the man to fire Southampton away from Premier League trouble.
Yet the Saints have to be wary of buying from abroad in the mid-season window – Hughes needs players to hit the ground running from the get-go, and while that cannot be guaranteed with any signing, it’s surely more of a risk with those who have never played in England before.
And after the calamitous addition of Carrillo little under 12 months ago, the South Coast must be wary of making the same big mistake when it comes to trying to sign Nakajima this time round.
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