Southampton supporters in the Transfer Tavern are eagerly anticipating their team’s encounter with reigning Premier League champions Chelsea this weekend, what with the Saints eyeing up a much-needed three points in their battle against relegation.
The South Coast outfit have endured a testing campaign in the top-flight given they are currently third-bottom and three points adrift of safety, with their paltry tally of five wins in 32 matches playing a big part in their struggles. And with just six matches to go, the Saints know that they have to start picking up points sooner rather than later, and they may fancy their chances on Saturday against a Chelsea side that have won just one of their last five league matches.
Subsequently, there is much anticipation among our resident Southampton fans ahead of Saturday’s clash, with many cautiously optimistic about their side’s chances such has been the Blues’ poor recent run of form.
In the meantime though, there has been much for those Saints supporters lining up at the bar to discuss, not least recent reports linking Champions League semi-finalists Roma with a move for midfielder Dusan Tadic.
And were the South Coast club to indeed let go of the 29-year-old this summer, they must seek to replace him with Fulham’s £13.5 million-rated ace Tom Cairney (as per Transfermarkt).
Ultimately, the 27-year-old has been in excellent form for the Cottagers in the last few years, bagging 13 goals and laying on 11 assists in their impressive run to the Championship play-offs last season, before coming up short against Reading in the semi-finals.
And while he hasn’t quite been able to replicate those numbers this time round, his tally of four goals and five assists, as well as 53 chances created, is still a fine return, especially given he missed a decent chunk of the first few months of the campaign through injury.
Unsurprisingly, his impressive efforts for Slavisa Jokanovic’s men has attracted top-flight interest in the last year or so, with Newcastle and West Ham, among others, keen on the Scotland international. And Southampton should add their name to that list of suitors as well if they sell Tadic.
Yes, the 29-year-old hasn’t been at his best at all this season, but one mustn’t forget the impact he had in previous seasons at Southampton – ultimately, the Serbia international will need replacing. And Cairney could be the man to do just that.
Tadic has often been used in a more central role in recent times, which is exactly where Cairney has flourished for Fulham, and having someone confident like that in that position could well bring the best out of the likes of Nathan Redmond, James Ward-Prowse, and Sofiane Boufal down the flanks.
And Cairney’s incredible eye for a pass and ability to create several goal-scoring opportunities could finally get the best out of the front men, with Manolo Gabbiadini struggling for goals this term, and January signing Guido Carrillo clearly talented but having yet to net since his arrival.
Ultimately, if the Saints stay up, there is likely to be an overhaul of the squad this summer, and with Tadic linked with a move away, he is one that could seek the exit door.
And were he to do that, Hughes’ side would have to look to replace him, with Fulham’s Cairney seemingly the ideal man to do just that at St Mary’s next season.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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