Southampton supporters in the Transfer Tavern are very much looking forward to the 2018/19 Premier League season, what with their side sincerely hoping that they can improve upon a disappointing 17th place finish last term.
Mark Hughes’ men endured a testing campaign last time round and only avoided relegation by three points, with the former Stoke City boss drafted in by the Saints hierarchy back in March following the sacking of Mauricio Pellegrino. And by leading the team to vital successes over Bournemouth and Swansea City, Hughes will now seek to build a side he hopes can take the South Coast outfit back into the top half of the Premier League this time round.
Yet one man who could be on his way out of St Mary’s is attacker Dusan Tadic, with recent reports linking him with a summer move to Dutch giants Ajax.
And were the Serbia international to indeed leave the club this summer, Southampton will need a replacement, and should look no further than £16.2 million-rated ace Xherdan Shaqiri (as per Transfermarkt), who of course worked under Hughes at Stoke in the last few years.
Ultimately, while Tadic on the whole flattered to deceive last season, he certainly played his part in the latter stages of the campaign to help keep the Saints in the top-flight, not least in bagging a brace in their 2-1 win over Bournemouth back in April.
As such, there is little doubt that the Saints will need to replace the linked-away star if a move to Ajax does indeed materialise, and Stoke’s Shaqiri should be the man they target following his fine campaign in the Premier League last term.
The Switzerland international returned his best figures since moving to the bet365 Stadium back in 2015 with eight goals and seven assists for the Potters last season, with it arguable that the Staffordshire-based club would have relegated a lot sooner were it not for the 26-year-old’s efforts.
And while that will come as little comfort for Stoke fans, it should certainly interest Saints supporters, as Shaqiri has the ability to produce a moment of brilliance and a match-winning contribution from out of very little, and as such would go some way to compensating for what Southampton could lose if and when Tadic leaves this summer.
And having worked under Hughes before at Stoke, the Swiss star will know exactly what the Welshman expects of his players, while Hughes himself will be fully aware of what Shaqiri can produce, and how much it would likely benefit a Southampton side that netted just 37 goals in their 38 Premier League games last season.
As such, with Tadic linked with a move away from St Mary’s this summer, Southampton must be ready to find a replacement, and Potters ace Shaqiri appears to be the man for the job.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!