According to reliable journalist Tom Barclay, Southampton transfer target Liam Delap would ‘definitely’ fit the profile of player that manager Ralph Hasenhuttl might be tempted to sign during the upcoming transfer window.
The Lowdown: Delap profiled
The 19-year-old first joined the academy at Manchester City as a scholar three years ago and has worked his way up through the ranks at the club, which saw him rewarded with his first-team debut in the Sky Blues’ 2-1 Carabao Cup victory against Bournemouth in September 2020.
The forward put pen to paper on a new three-year contract extension with the Etihad Stadium outfit last summer, but he has recently been touted with a move away from the Premier League champions in a bid to get some much-needed game-time and further his development.
In a recent report from The Sun, it’s claimed that the teenager is on Southampton’s shortlist as they desperately look to bolster their attacking ranks; and after raiding Chelsea’s academy to sign Tino Livramento and Dynel Simeu last year, the Saints have been backed to pull off a similar move by tempting Delap into a south coast switch in the coming months.
The Latest: Barclay backs Southampton links with Delap
Barclay has suggested that Delap could be the perfect fit for Hasenhuttl’s plans at Southampton, given the Saints’ previous raids for young prospects from the Premier League’s top brass.
Wnd when asked whether he thought he could see any parallels in their swoops for the aforementioned ex-Chelsea youngsters, he told GiveMeSport: “Yeah, definitely. They’ve targeted Chelsea’s academy in recent history with great success, with obviously Livramento being the standout one, Broja as well.
“Dynel Simeu, who went on loan to Carlisle and did well, although he’s not been as much of a standout player; he was signed more for the B team but is another player they signed from that club’s academy.
“And I think we’ve talked about Tino Anjorin as well as another possible target in the future. So, they’ve looked at that area.”
The Verdict: Perfect replacement for Long
With veteran striker Shane Long set to depart St Mary’s upon the expiry of his contract next month, Delap could be viewed as the ideal candidate to take the Irishman’s place in the squad, either on a temporary or permanent basis.
The Winchester-born talent, who was once dubbed a “special” player by City manager Pep Guardiola, has been in excellent form in Premier League 2 this season. With eight goals and two assists in just ten appearances at that level, as per Transfermarkt, he has shown just how prolific he can be in the final third regardless of his age.
After a disappointing 15th-place finish in the top flight this season, the possible addition of someone like Delap up top could be just what Southampton need if they are to start making a serious push towards a top-ten finish next time around.
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