Transfers

Southampton to Battle with Everton over Middlesbrough Defender

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According to Yorkshire Post, Premier League contenders, Southampton and Everton are going head to head in the bid to sign Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson.

Following their failure to climb back to the English Top Flight last season following the defeat to rivals Aston Villa during the Playoff finals.

The reports are currently stating that the Boros will be willing to let their Nunthorpe-born defender out of the Riverside Stadium and will cash on him this summer.

Middlesbrough boss, Tony Pulis has slapped an asking price of £25 million on the defender as the manager is looking to get his club prepared for the summer.

Gibson has been very prolific for the Boros, since his breaking into the first team of football back in 2013 after a loan spell with Tranmere Rovers, and also helping his club to earn a promotion to the Premier League in his third season as a regular.

Gibson has appeared 203 times for his boyhood club and bagging four goals in the process, playing every single game for Boro while at the English Top Flight during the 2016/17 campaign.

The 25-year-old defender has only been able to appear for his country England in youth levels and just once for the Three Lions, coming on as a substitute for Chris Smalling during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers match against Lithuania.

However, with Everton and Southampton interested in signing the defender, which could ultimately open up his chance in the England national team.

According to the Sun, the Saints are said to be tabling a bid of £20 million for Ben Gibson, who could fill up the space left by former player Virgil Van Dijk, on the other hand you can check out the Premier League odds for the summer.

The Boros will be keen to hold down their English defender in a contract extension as they will be keen to return to the English Top Flight in a second season at the Championship.

Southampton are reportedly open to offers for Ryan Bertrand

After four fantastic years at the club, it’s now being reported that Southampton are prepared to listen to offers for Ryan Bertrand this summer.

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The England international has arguably been the clubs most consistent performer since 2014, but over the past few months, questions have been raised over his desire to stay beyond this season. The Daily Mail have claimed that the Saints are now ready to see what offers could be placed on the table.

The Champions League winner was initially signed on loan to fill the gap created by Luke Shaw’s departure, but within just a matter of months the club knew that they were on to a winner. Bertrand had finally found a place he could call home after a number of sub-par loan spells.

In February 2015 he decided to put pen to paper, and from that day forward it’s fair to say that he’s remained a true professional throughout.

Sections of the Southampton fan base have queried his commitment in recent months, but when you consider that he’s turned up week in week out, never ran to the press, never forced a move (like so many others have) and been handed the captaincy by Mark Hughes, you’ve got to show him some respect.

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Over previous transfer windows Bertrand has been linked to Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea amongst others. But with Benjamin Mendy back on the field for City and Andrew Robertson nailing his place in the Liverpool side, you can’t help but feel that the ships sailed for a move to a European giant.

Bertrand may have to look a little further down the table if he wants a move away from the South coast this summer – especially when his performances haven’t quite lived up to that of previous seasons. A move to Everton or Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle seems far more likely.

Mark Hughes planning summer swoop for Joe Allen

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According to recent report, Southampton boss Mark Hughes is planning a move for Stoke City midfielder Joe Allen if the Saints manage to retain their Premier League status beyond this season.

Hughes emerged as head coach at Southampton last week, replacing Mauricio Pellegrino. The Welshman took on a short term contract with the St Mary resident which will only last till the end of the season.

It is understood that Hughes could be rewarded with a long-term contract if he manages to steer the club away from the Premier League relegation zone in the final weeks of the campaign.

The report further stated that Hughes is already making plans for the coming season, with the Welshman identifying Stoke midfielder Allen as the perfect arrival.

Hughes signed Allen to Stoke from Liverpool in the summer of 2016, and the versatile midfielder has recorded 10 goals in 70 appearances for the Potters.

West Ham United have previously been linked with Allen, but Southampton will seemingly make a summer swoop if they manage to stay in the top flight.

Although Stoke are not having a good season, Allen has been consistent with his play whenever he appears for the club.

Indeed, he has scored four goals and provided seven assists in 31 games, which is an impressive record for a team that has performed miserably all through the campaign.

Southampton are in dire need of a good talent in the central park, and Allen who is valued at £16.2m by transfer market, would bring innovation to the Saints squad and this speculation will give fans lots of betting offer to choose from.

All this could also be dependent on whether Stoke survive in the Premier League this season, and it might well be that both parties remain in the top flight.

Even if that happens, Southampton have the upper hand and they could be successful in convincing Allen to move South due to his close relationship with Hughes.

Harrison Reed: I don’t want to go back to sitting in the stands

 Harrison Reed has expressed his desire to continue playing on a weekly basis next season, after gaining his first taste of regular competitive football with Norwich City.

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The 23-year-old joined the Canaries on a season-long loan last June and has featured for the club on 32 occasions – already surpassing the 30 appearances that he made for the Saints across four seasons.

Reed, who still remains a favourite amongst the Southampton fan base, has displayed great maturity in the heart of the Norwich midfield, showing his technical capabilities to dominate a game and his terrier-like work-rate that’s won the hearts of so many fans.

But while a number of Southampton supporters remain hopeful that he could return and fight for his place in the side again, it seems that Reed is fearful of falling back into the cycle of U23’s football.

“Being at Southampton and a Premier League club is great. But playing in the under-23s and not really coming up against men maybe halted my career a little bit,” Reed told the Eastern Daily Press.

“I don’t feel like I want to go back to sitting in the stands, training all week and then on a Saturday not being involved.

“That’s not something I want to do and I think if you asked many footballers, they would agree.

“So next season I’ll look to progress again, whether that be here or we’ll see what other opportunities arise.

“Coming to Norwich and playing week in week out, getting the game time I have done has really opened my eyes and I feel like I’ve progressed.”

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It’s clear that Reed’s enjoyed his time working under Daniel Falke, and is it any wonder when for the first time in his professional career, he’s had the joy of playing a key role in the weekend’s results.

Having witnessed his debut under Mauricio Pochettino back in December 2013, it would be upsetting to wave goodbye to the tenacious midfielder this coming summer. Especially when you consider the initial promise that he showed for the club.

But given that he’s 23-years-old and that Southampton currently boasts a plethora of midfield options, it’s imperative that his next career decision is made solely with his own development in mind.

Transfer updates: Guido Carrillo, Quincy Promes and Matt Targett

24 days of countless rumours and club-fed stories have passed, but now it finally seems that Southampton have made some serious developments in the January transfer window.

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Southampton agree £19.2M fee with Monaco for Guido Carrillo

According to Sky Sports and The Telegraph, Monaco and Southampton have agreed a fee of £19.2M for Guido Carrillo.

Personal terms are still needing to be finalised with the Argentinian forward, but Southampton remain confident that they’re capable of completing the deal

Les Reed and co initially hoped to agree a fee of £15M for the services of the center forward, but after seeing their first bid rejected last week felt that they needed to act swiftly in the final week of the transfer window.

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The Southampton target may have only found the back of the net on four occasions this season, but despite this he still ranks as one of Ligue 1’s most deadly forwards. Not only do 31% of his shots find the back of the net, but since the start of the 2016/17 season, only Cavani, Lacazette and Neymar have recorded a better minutes per goal return than Carrillo in Ligue 1 (91.11).

The 26-year-old is considered to be a powerful centre-forward who excels statistically in aerial duels and flicks-ons, suggesting that Southampton are on the hunt for a focal point in their frontline – something that’s been missing with Manolo Gabbiadini and Shane Long under  Mauricio Pellegrino.

While his quality is general play remains to be seen, we know that at the very least Carrillo has some outstanding attributes in the air, and in all honesty, that’s a quality we’ve sorely missed since Pelle’s departure.

Southampton remain interested in £30M Quincy Promes

The Guardian and The Telegraph have also reported that Southampton have a keen interest in Spartak Moscow winger Quincy Promes.

The 26-year-old is reportedly valued at £30M, which will require Southampton to smash their current transfer record – a record that will have been broken once already this window if the Carrillo deals goes through.

This rumour is without a doubt our most thrilling of the January window so far, but with such a high asking price it’s no wonder why. A transfer of this magnitude will no doubt swallow the majority of the Virgil Van Dijk money.

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So is he worth it?

It’s safe to say that in recent years Promes has consistently produced in the final third, registering 13, 18, 12 and 15 goals in each of his last four seasons. Totalling 53 goals in 101 for Spartak.

From the outside looking in he appears to be perfect for Southampton’s current shortcomings; he’d act as our second biggest goal threat, add some much-needed pace close to the forward and add a direct style of play to our frontline.

The Dutch Internationals quality is undeniable. The real question is whether Southampton are willing to meet Spartak’s valuation of the winger.

Fulham secure Southampton’s Matt Targett on loan

Matt Targett has joined Slavisa Jokanovic’s Fulham on loan for the remainder of the season, in desperate hunt of first-team opportunities.

The 22-year-old has been handed just two appearances so far this season, and these arrived at a time when Ryan Bertrand was sidelined through injury.

The Southampton academy graduate has showcased his talent on numerous occasions in the first team, but understandably, opportunities have been hard to come by when challenging a player of Bertrand’s consistency.

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Targett’s shown over the years that he can tackle intelligently, defend well in corners and deliver a delightful cross in behind the defence, but question marks remain over his ability to beat his man and his defending in open one v one situations.

While at Fulham, however, Targett will be working under a progressive coach in Jokanovic, who will no doubt inspire confidence and allow him to flourish offensively.

With hope, Targett will now be playing in an incredibly attacking side and take the place of teenage sensation Ryan Sessegnon at left-back, who will now be given a more advanced role on the left of their midfield.

Podcast: Talking Virgil Van Dijk with Anfield Index

The saga is over. After months of deliberation, countless meltdowns and the helping hand of a £75M sum, Virgil Van Dijk has finally received his ‘dream move’ to Liverpool Football Club. 

The Dutchman will be registered with Jurgen Klopp’s Reds on the 2nd of January, and at this moment in time holds the title of being the worlds most expensive defender – smashing the previous record held by the £52M Benjamin Mendy.

But is it the right time to lose a player of Van Dijk’s quality? Who will have to step up for the Saints? And what should we do with the £75M?

To hear our views on the above and much more, be sure to give our podcast with Anfield Index a listen here…

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Virgil Van Dijk: updates regarding Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City

As we edge ever closer to the January transfer window, more and more stories regarding Virgil Van Dijk’s future on the South Coast are making the headlines.

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So to save you the hassle of the searching through the endless ‘ITK’ reports on Twitter and online, we sieved through the latest updates and collated them all here. You’re welcome.

In the last 24 hours the Independent have claimed that Liverpool are cooling their interest in the Dutchman, unless Southampton are willing to lower their asking price.

The report claims that Liverpool are now being forced into looking elsewhere for defensive reinforcements, with Southampton showing no signs of giving in. It’s believed that Liverpool hoped to make their move in the January transfer window.

However, It’s not just the Reds hesitance to meet Southampton’s asking price that’s causing them to look elsewhere. Liverpool insiders are currently fearful that they simply can’t match the financial power that their Premier League rivals boast.

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Meanwhile, the Mirror believe Chelsea are now set to rival Manchester City for Van Dijk’s signature.

During a recent press conference Antonio Conte remained respectful when asked about Van Dijk joining his side, but the Italian didn’t hold back in urging numerous other top sides to challenge runaway leaders City, in the battle for Southampton’s £70M man.

Every team, every club, must pay great attention. Because if a club like Manchester City takes all the best [players], it will be very difficult for us to fight. Not only in England but in Europe.” said the Blues boss.

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Conte went on to defend City’s right to continue spending big, but insisted his own club and their title rivals must try to keep pace.

It seems that the race for Virgil Van Dijk is just as much about securing the talent of the man himself, as it is about denying your opponents of a world class talent.

There’s one consistency throughout all of these reports, however, and that’s that Southampton still appear to be standing strong with the Dutchman.

The club appear to be breaking no sweat over the future of the in-demand centre-back, and are happy to wait for their lavish £70m valuation to be met.

 

Basel’s Mohamed Elyounoussi on Southampton’s radar

According to Swiss newspaper Blick, Southampton scouts were once again watching over Mohamed Elyounoussi last Saturday, as the Norwegian winger scored Basel’s opening goal against Lausanne.

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The 23-year-old has been on Southampton’s radar for the past year, but interest appears to be growing ahead of the January transfer window. 

Elyounoussi, who plays on the left side of Basel’s front three, was in stunning form yet again last Tuesday scoring in a 2-0 win over Benfica, placing Raphaël Wicky’s side in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Elyounoussi has found the back of the net on four occasions in his last 15 league appearances – averaging a goal every 306 minutes – but it’s the creative side of his game that often receives so much praise. 11 assists from 23 appearences this season is sublime, and exactly the kind of numbers that Southampton could do with registering.

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Initially Elyounoussi has all the hallmarks of a typical Southampton signing; he’s performing at a high level in a lesser European league, has plenty of time on his side, and appears to be within their price range. 

However, the Saints aren’t the only Premier League club interested in Elyounnoussi. Blik say that severeal other Premier League clubs are monitoring the winger closely, including Claude Puel’s Leicester City.

Manchester City set to challenge Liverpool for Van Dijk this January

According to a report from The Mirror, Manchester City could be challenging Liverpool for Southampton defender Virgil Van Dijk this January.

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Pep Guardiola’s City were once again victorious at the weekend defeating Leicester City 2-0, but the three points came at a cost, with John Stones being ruled out for up to six weeks.

Guardiola hinted, however, that his side have been hunting for defensive reinforcements even before this injury.

“We’re going to discuss when January is coming” said the Spaniard.

“We are going to think about it, but not because John is in that position.

“To play in all the competitions, you need a bigger squad because the players don’t have time for regeneration before the next game.”

The England International has played an important role in City’s remarkable start to the season, so with Vincent Kompany, Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi being the only remaining cover at centre-back, Van Dijk makes for the perfect target.

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Not only does he boast the ability to grow with a squad of City’s trajectory, but he would also perfectly compliment Stones, who would no doubt be his long-term partner in the side.

Standing at 6 ft 4 in tall, and built like a genetically modified modern day centre-back, Van Dijk would add some much-needed steel at the heart of City’s defence, without losing even a touch of technical ability.

Liverpool were forced to make an apology to Southampton last summer, after their attempts of luring the Dutchman to Anfield failed spectacularly. That stance shown by the Southampton board received plenty of praise at the time, but Mauricio Pellegrino’s latest comments regarding Van Dijk’s future don’t stand quite as strong.

Pellegrino said: “I don’t know. I can’t control the market.

“You never know, because when we talk about money everybody has got a price.The budget is to sign players and the biggest teams have got money to try to sign players.

“I can’t decide about that. This is a question for our owners.

“Everybody is focused on their area, to try to bring the best players possible for their club. It is something that happens every single transfer window.

“We have got a lot of good players and most of the teams want to sign them.”

Southampton keeping watch on Manchester City’s Bobby Duncan

Southampton are reportedly interested in Manchester City youngster Bobby Duncan, who looks set to leave City in the near future.

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The report from The Times claims that Southampton aren’t alone in their pursuit of the 16-year-old, however, with both Arsenal and Tottenham keeping a close eye on the front-man.

After losing Jadon Sancho to Borussia Dortmund only earlier this summer, Manchester City now risk losing yet another one of their highly rated stars; one can only assume that such decisions are made in the pursuit of first-team opportunities, given the frightening squad depth at City.

Duncan, who is a cousin of Steven Gerrard, showed his talent for England’s U17’s only last week, scoring a late winner to beat Portugal 3-2 after initially going 2-0 down.

Duncan is yet to sign a professional contract, but City hope to pen the youngster down on a new deal before his 17th birthday next summer.

It’s been awhile since Southampton had a young English forward leading their front-line, and with Sam Gallagher’s career stalling at Birmingham, on top of Ryan Seager edging closer to 22-years-old, this signing could prove to be a smart investment for the club.

It must be noted, however, that City will be entitled to receive compensation should Duncan leave.