Southampton supporters in the Transfer Tavern are eagerly anticipating the rest of the summer transfer window following the news that manager Mark Hughes has penned a long-term deal with the club.
The former Stoke City boss took over at St Mary’s back in March following the sacking of Mauricio Pellegrino, and faced an almighty task in trying to keep a Saints side bereft of confidence in the Premier League. But the 54-year-old did just that with victories over Bournemouth and Swansea City moving them out of the bottom three, with that success at the Liberty Stadium proving to be crucial in determining the fate of the two sides, with Southampton safe as a result, and the Swans all but relegated come the final whistle.
As such, not only are our resident Saints fans looking forward to another season in the Premier League, but they are also looking forward to a new era under Hughes, even if they are somewhat concerned by recent reports linking Alex McCarthy with a move to Tottenham.
And while the South Coast club won’t want to lose the 28-year-old, if they were to cave in to Spurs’ demands, they simply must demand £18 million-rated Tottenham ace Erik Lamela (as per Transfermarkt) as part of any possible deal.
Ultimately, the Argentina international has failed to re-discover his best form since returning from a year out with a hip injury back in November, with the winger bagging just twice in 25 Premier League appearances for Mauricio Pochettino’s side this term.
And with just four assists to show for his endeavours, the 26-year-old is some way short of the forward that shone in North London just prior to injury back in 2016, to the point that he has been linked with a move away this summer such is the plethora of attacking talent at Pochettino’s disposal.
Southampton were one club linked with Lamela back in January, and they should again go in for him this summer in a bid to move up the Premier League table next term.
Ultimately, the Saints’ struggles this term were pinpointed in the attacking third of the pitch having managed just 37 goals in their 38 league games.
And with the likes of Sofiane Boufal and Nathan Redmond failing to produce their best over the course of the campaign, and Dusan Tadic also hugely inconsistent, Hughes may seek to overhaul the attacking ranks this summer. And Lamela is one man who’d certainly strengthen them.
Prior to injury back in October 2016, the 26-year-old was enjoying his best spell since moving to Tottenham to underline that he had adapted to the demands of the Premier League and was beginning to flourish in it, netting 11 goals and laying on ten assists in all competitions in the 2015/16 season.
And those sort of contributions wouldn’t go amiss in a Saints side that, for the most part this term, were bereft of ideas in the final third of the pitch, while the likelihood of regular football will only serve to help Lamela get back into the groove after a lengthy time out.
Thus, while losing McCarthy would obviously be disappointing after the season he had, Southampton must seek to something out of the deal, and as such should demand Lamela as part of a possible deal for the Englishman.
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