According to Sky Sports, Southampton have lose out to Premier League rivals Leicester City in the race to sign Norwich City midfielder James Maddison, and they should now instead target a move for Villarreal’s Pablo Fornals, rated at £22.5m by Transfermarkt.
Well, Sky Sports report that both Saints and the Foxes had agreed a deal to bring the highly-rated 21-year-old to the top flight, but the England U21 international, who is the 2nd most talked about transfer target on Twitter according to The Transfer Hound, has chosen to make a move closer to his family in the Midlands.
According to Sky Sports, the south coast outfit had made a club-record £22m offer that had been accepted by the Championship side, but they ultimately missed out because of geographical reasons.
Now Mark Hughes will have to turn his attentions elsewhere, and the Welshman should be taking a closer look at La Liga star Fornals following an impressive season.
He was impressive.
The 22-year-old Spaniard scored four goals and provided a further 13 assists in 46 appearances in all competitions for Villarreal having joined them from Malaga last summer, with the player paying his own £10.7m release clause in order to leave his former club.
According to WhoScored.com, his main strength is his ability to make key passes, and he made 58 in 42 outings in the Spanish top flight and the Europa League last term, while he completed 29 of the 59 dribbles he attempted.
[brid autoplay=”true” video=”255909″ player=”12034″ title=”Watch Three reasons we love to hate… Germany”]
If Saints, whose move for a 26-year-old midfielder would surely seal Mario Lemina’s St Mary’s exit, are looking for a talented central attacking midfielder with plenty of quality now and with the potential to improve, there are few better options available to them than Fornals.
The 22-year-old showed his creative tendencies with those 13 assists last term, while his versatility means that he can play through the middle or on either flank.
Given he has four years left on his contract with Villarreal he may not be available on the cheap, but he looks to have all of the attributes to be a Premier League star, and would provide the incisive play in the attacking third that Southampton were desperately lacking during the 2017/18 season.