In recent season’s Southampton have become a real force, after narrowly missing out on the top four this season they will certainly look to add to the squad this summer to make the bigger step. The Saints good season did pay off as they have qualified for the Europa League which will help them attract their targets. We look at who could push them that one step further and qualify for the Champions League.
1 – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
According to the Daily Mirror Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is Southampton’s number one target this summer as the club prepares to make a bid. Southampton are willing to make him their highest paid player and are even prepared to offer him vice-captaincy as they try to win over his services and bring him back to his childhood club.
Southampton are reportedly very interested in bringing ex-academy graduate Oxlade-Chamberlain back to the St Mary’s where he started his career this summer. Chamberlain is thought to be considering his long-term future with the Gunners as he wants regular first team football which Arsenal cannot guarantee.
Chamberlain’s current contract expires in 2018 and clubs have been alerted to this, they feel if the price is right they may be able to tempt Arsenal into selling their winger. It is said Southampton are willing to offer him a huge contract and make him a senior player at the club if he was to re-sign for them.
Chamberlain has suffered a recent injury which ruined his Euro chances is still struggling to hold down a starting role at Arsenal. In a season where Chamberlain has struggled, he has still managed to create 1.83 chances per 90 minutes compared to current Saints winger Sadio Mane’s 1.42. A worry for the Saints is the amount of goals Chamberlain scores, he has managed just to score just 0.10 compared to Mane’s 0.38. As well as scoring goals Mane has also contributed 0.21 assists per 90 minutes which is very impressive – Chamberlain, on the other hand has not registered a single assist this season. The Arsenal man does impress with successful take ons though (70.59%) – Mane, in contrast has managed just 55%.
Southampton will have to beat off interest from several clubs, including Leicester City for his services.
An added bonus for Southampton in their pursuit of Chamberlain is that he will not join another London club out of respect for the Gunners as he has also enjoyed a special relationship with the Arsenal fans.