In September 2015 Southampton forked out £14 million to secure the services of Virgil Van Dijk after the Dutch defender had proven to be a class above in Scottish football, and he enjoyed huge success on the south coast before eventually leaving for a whopping £75 million 2 and a half seasons later.
Although it was bitterly disappointing for Southampton to lose their most indispensable talent to a Premier League rival, the enormity of the return they received on their initial investment gave them something to be pleased about.
Van Dijk has been a revelation since he arrived at Liverpool: he has installed solidity into a defence which was previously characterised by fundamental errors, become a firm fan-favourite amongst the Reds faithful and silenced his extensive contingent of doubters in the process.
His journey from Celtic to Liverpool serves to exemplify why players who thrive in Scottish football should be given an opportunity to emulate their form south of the border.
With that being said, there’s no doubt that Mark Hughes should have his eye firmly on Celtic’s Olivier Ntcham after he continued to showcase his credentials for a Premier League switch with a masterclass performance at the heart of the Bhoys’ midfield in the Old Firm derby on Sunday afternoon.
Brendan Rodgers’ side got the better of Steven Gerrard’s new look Rangers side courtesy of Ntcham’s second-half strike – a goal which was rather fitting after the 22-year-old had single-handedly dictated proceedings from central midfield.
In truth, Ntcham was a class above the rest all afternoon and if he continues to emulate that level of performance there is no doubt plenty of Premier League clubs will begin to show an interest in bringing him back to England.
Manchester City agreed to sell Ntcham to Celtic last summer in a deal worth just £4.5 million, but it’s already beginning to look like the Hoops will make a huge profit on the midfielder when they are inevitably forced to sell their emerging lynchpin.
Considering Steven Davis is now 33-years-old and Southampton may be forced to sell Mario Lemina in the future, Ntcham represents an excellent candidate to slot into the midfield and become the next player to successfully make the transition from Celtic to Southampton.
A physical force to be reckoned with, technically excellent, eager to play the ball forward at every opportunity and with the engine to excel in a box-to-box midfield role, Ntcham has all of the attributes to suggest he would thrive at Southampton.
Southampton fans – thoughts? Let us know below!