Southampton supporters have been pretty satisfied in the Transfer Tavern during the current international break after seeing their team beat Wigan Athletic 2-0 in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup last weekend, in turn securing a first semi-final in the competition since 2003.
The South Coast outfit went into their clash at the DW Stadium off the back of beating Fulham, Watford, and West Brom to reach the last eight, while Paul Cook’s Latics produced one of the biggest upsets of all time by edging Manchester City in the preceding round. Yet the Saints were able to do what City couldn’t and beat the League One high-flyers, with goals from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Cedric Soares sealing the win for Mark Hughes’ men, thus earning them a last four clash with Chelsea at Wembley next month.
As such, there have been many delighted Saints fans in the Tavern in recent times, several of whom are daring to dream about possible FA Cup glory this term, with it 42 years since they last tasted success in the world’s oldest club competition.
In the meantime though, there has been plenty for our resident Southampton supporters to get their teeth into, not least recent reports linking striker Manolo Gabbiadini with a move back to Italy.
And were the 26-year-old to indeed return to Serie A this summer, the South Coast club simply must replace him with £18 million-rated Liverpool outcast Daniel Sturridge (as per Transfermarkt).
Ultimately, the England international is seriously struggling for regular minutes at Anfield, pretty much ever since Jurgen Klopp took over back in October 2015, to the point that he was shipped out on loan to West Brom back in January of this year for more gametime.
And with just a year left on his current deal at Anfield, the Reds may seek to cash in on the 28-year-old, and Hughes’ Southampton simply must look at the striker as the perfect replacement for Gabbiadini were he to leave for Italy.
Clearly, the Saints have struggled for goals this season having bagged 29 times in their 30 Premier League games, a tally which is a chief part of the reason for their current positioning of 18th in the table.
And with Charlie Austin, who has appeared just 16 times in the league this term, their top goal-scorer with just six, it’s pretty evident what Hughes and the club’s hierarchy must seek to address this summer if they remain in the top-flight.
However, the good news for the Saints is that they have created more chances than any other team in the division outside of the top six, mustering 283 opportunities over the course of the campaign – in comparison, 17th place West Ham have created just 217.
Thus, it would appear that it is just a case of having someone in the right place at the right time to fire home the goals, hence Austin’s success while he was injury-free, and that is exactly the sort of striker Sturridge is, and exactly the sort of game that earned him big moves in his career to date.
But with things stuttering at Liverpool, hindering his progress at both club and international level, the 28-year-old simply must make a change this summer, and Southampton could be the perfect destination, both for the player himself and indeed the club, who could well lose Gabbiadini during the close season.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!