Southampton should have swooped for Cairney instead of Armstrong

Southampton should have tried to sign Fulham midfielder Tom Cairney instead of Celtic’s Stuart Armstrong.

What’s the word?

On Friday, BBC Sport reported that the Saints have agreed terms with the Scottish club over the sale of Armstrong.

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The coastal club are believed to be willing to pay an initial fee of £7m, which will rise with add-ons.

If Armstrong opts to join Southampton then he will be arriving off the back of three years at Celtic.

The midfielder, who has never before played in England, scored four goals and created five assists in 35 appearances in all competitions.

Have Southampton made the right choice?

Armstrong could potentially thrive at St Mary’s, but a better option would have been Fulham midfielder Cairney.

The 27-year-old had another positive campaign for the Cottagers as he helped guide the club to Premier League promotion.

Cairney recorded six goals and produced five assists in 37 outings for the Championship outfit.

The midfielder is versatile in that he can play in an advanced role and on the right, as well as his more natural role in the centre of the park.

While the statistics between Cairney and Armstrong may not be hugely different, the former has the advantage of being well-versed in English football.

Southampton want to avoid another relegation battle, so bringing in Armstrong could be a bit of a risk given that he has not experienced the fierceness of the Premier League before.

Understandably, the Saints have gone for the cheaper option, but they should have tested the water at Fulham.