Southampton supporters in the Transfer Tavern are eagerly anticipating the 2018/19 Premier League season following the news that manager Mark Hughes has penned a long-term deal with the South Coast outfit.
The ex-Stoke City boss took over at St Mary’s back in March following the sacking of Mauricio Pellegrino, with Welshman Hughes tasked with trying to keep the Saints in the Premier League despite their woeful campaign up until that point. And while it was far from easy, the 54-year-old did just that by guiding the club to vital victories over Bournemouth and Swansea City to eventually steer them to a 17th place finish in the top-flight, three points clear of the relegation zone.
And Hughes has since been awarded with a three-year deal to remain as Southampton manager, with attentions among those Saints fans in the Tavern now firmly on the summer transfer window.
And they are likely to be intrigued by recent reports suggesting that Newcastle will have to break their transfer record to land £20 million-rated Kenedy this summer, a deal which Hughes’ Southampton must seek to hijack to solve their own attacking issues.
Ultimately, it was the final third of the pitch which severely let the South Coast club down this term, with the club managing just 37 goals in their 38 Premier League matches, with their top scorers Charlie Austin and Dusan Tadic with a meagre seven goals.
And with the likes of Sofiane Boufal and Nathan Redmond failing to make a meaningful impact over the course of the campaign, it’s clear what area of the squad needs addressing this summer if Hughes is to take Southampton back into the top half of the Premier League.
And for just £20 million, Kenedy could be the man to do just that.
The Brazilian star made a huge difference to Newcastle’s attacking ranks this term with two goals and two assists in 13 Premier League appearances for Rafa Benitez’s side, and although those figures are far from ground-breaking, the impact he had in making the Magpies a more threatening side in the final third was evident throughout his loan spell at St James’ Park.
Unsurprisingly, the North East giants are looking to bring the 22-year-old back this summer as they themselves seek to move to the next level next time round, but it remains to be seen whether owner Mike Ashley is willing to break the club’s transfer record to sign him.
Ultimately, Kenedy certainly proved his credentials as a quality Premier League player this term, and at the tender age of 22, the Brazilian sensation is only going to get better the more football he plays – that is a frightening prospect for any opposition defender.
And for just £20 million, a bargain given the amount of talent and potential he has, Southampton must seek to hijack Newcastle’s move for the 22-year-old this summer.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!