Southampton supporters in the Transfer Tavern are relishing the remainder of the summer transfer window following the news that Mark Hughes has penned a long-term deal to remain as the club’s manager.
The 54-year-old was drafted in by the Saints hierarchy back in March following the departure of Mauricio Pellegrino, and was tasked with the challenge of keeping the South Coast outfit in the Premier League. And while it was far from easy, the former Stoke City boss did just that by leading the side to a 17th place finish in the English football’s top tier, thus extending their stay in the top-flight into a seventh season.
However, our resident Southampton fans are hoping for much better from their team next time round, and as such are intrigued by recent reports linking them with a £12 million move for Stoke’s Xherdan Shaqiri.
And were the Saints to indeed land the Swiss wing wizard this summer, they are sure to reap the rewards from such investment next time round following the 26-year-old’s decent season for the recently-relegated Potters.
Ultimately, the former Bayern Munich winger was a rare shining light in an otherwise disastrous campaign at the bet365 Stadium, with Shaqiri scoring eight goals and laying on seven assists in 36 Premier League appearances for the Staffordshire-based club.
In fact, if it weren’t for his efforts in the final third, alongside those of Jack Butland between the sticks, the Potters would likely have been relegated a lot earlier than they eventually were, thus underlining the quality Shaqiri would bring to this Southampton side eyeing up the top half once again.
Clearly, the attacking ranks were what let the Saints down last season with the club managing just 37 goals in their 38 Premier League matches – Shaqiri’s tally of eight goals would have seen him top of their goal-scoring charts for the campaign, that’s how much they struggled in the final third.
And with the likes of Nathan Redmond and Sofiane Boufal finding life difficult at St Mary’s, and Dusan Tadic often flattering to deceive, the attacking department certainly needs a shake-up – Shaqiri’s arrival would do just that.
Yes, the Switzerland international does have a tendancy to switch out of matches, but at the same time he is capable of producing moments of magic out of absolutely nothing – Hughes will know that only too well having worked with him at Stoke.
And in a Southampton side crying out for greater creativity and spark in the final third, he could flourish. And for just £12 million, it’d be a bargain.
Thus, while some may be unsure regarding Shaqiri’s ability, the Saints would certainly reap the rewards from adding the £16.2 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) to their squad this summer.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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