Newcastle United and Southampton supporters have been in contrasting moods in the Transfer Tavern this week, what with the Magpies losing 3-1 at Chelsea on Saturday to continue their miserable run of form, while the Saints moved up to 11th in the Premier League after drawing with Bournemouth.
Rafa Benitez’s Magpies halted a run of four straight league defeats by drawing 2-2 at West Brom in their preceding fixture, but were unable to build any momentum as a brace from Eden Hazard and an Alvaro Morata header branded Dwight Gayle’s opener meaningless at Stamford Bridge. Yet things were much brighter for Mauricio Pellegrino’s Southampton, who moved up to 11th in the table courtesy of a 1-1 draw away at Bournemouth, with Charlie Austin’s second half effort cancelling out Ryan Fraser’s opener for the Cherries.
Consequently, there have been differing emotions among both sets of supporters in the Tavern this week, although they are both already looking ahead to the upcoming January transfer window, and what business their side could and perhaps should do in the New Year.
And one report which has recently caught their eye is courtesy of The Daily Mail, which suggests that the Premier League duo are interested in a move for Dundee starlet Jack Hendry, who was deemed ‘excellent’ by Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers in the Bhoys’ win over Neil McCann’s side earlier this season.
The 22-year-old has been in impressive form at the heart of the Dees backline this term and as such has attracted much interest south of the border, yet the Scottish youngster should opt for a move to St Mary’s over a move to St James’ Park in the winter window.
And that’s because Southampton’s recent success in giving young talent a chance could well open the door for Hendry to fulfil his potential, while Magpies boss Benitez has already made it clear that further quality signings are needed at Newcastle to keep them in the Premier League.
Ultimately, the Saints have got an excellent programme of youth development going at St Mary’s, with several players like Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Luke Shaw coming up through the ranks and going on to play for some of the biggest clubs in the country.
And although that trio, as well as several other household names, actually spent their youth career at Southampton, unlike Hendry, they still needed a platform from which to go on and perform – the Saints gave them that, and now look where they are.
Ultimately, when one looks at Southampton as a football club, they are getting things right – there’s a reason they have recorded four successive top half finishes in the Premier League. And one wouldn’t put it past Pellegrino’s side to do so again.
Yet the same cannot necessarily be said of Newcastle, who remain in the midst of a possible takeover from Amanda Staveley, yet also remain firmly stuck in a rut of no win in six Premier League games.
And manager Benitez made his frustrations clear over the summer about the need to bring more quality individuals to the football club, and although Hendry has excelled for Dundee, it’s unlikely that he is the sort of signing he will be after in January.
And with the pressure on to get things right in the North East, Benitez is unlikely going to give Hendry the sort of gametime and minutes on the pitch he needs to continue his development – that’s more likely to happen at Southampton.
And that is why the ‘excellent’ defensive starlet must opt for St Mary’s over St James’ Park in January.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!