Southampton’s pre-season preparations were dealt a severe blow when they were beaten 3-0 by Frank Lampard’s Derby County at the iPro Stadium, and it was another sign that they may need to add to their forward line before August 9, with Lazio’s Luis Alberto, rated at £31.5m by Transfermarkt, the perfect candidate.
Well, Saints nearly suffered relegation to the Championship last term following a disastrous campaign in which they scored just 37 goals in their 38 Premier League matches, and they need to significantly improve on that record this season if they are to have a more successful campaign.
The loss of one of their main creative players in Dusan Tadic already this summer meant that manager Mark Hughes had plenty of work to do, with Basel’s Mohamed Elyounoussi looking to be a direct replacement for the Serbia international.
The south coast outfit look to need more following another blank at the weekend though, with another attacking midfielder/winger needed to provide service to the likes of Charlie Austin, Manolo Gabbiadini and Shane Long in 2018/19.
Well, the former Liverpool man has struggled to make a really big impact in his career so far – until last season with Lazio that is.
The Spaniard scored 12 goals and provided a further 21 assists in 47 appearances in all competitions as Lazio narrowly missed out on Champions League qualification in Serie A, and his ability to both create and score goals would be perfect for Southampton, who can sign a Sofiane Boufal upgrade by hijacking Newcastle United’s interest in £20m ace.
The fact that he can play in the No.10 role or even as a centre-forward on occasion means that he would be the ideal addition for Hughes and Saints, although he would likely have to be their club-record buy given his recent record and the fact he has four years left on his contract with the Italian club.