Southampton have been virtually dormant when it comes to spending money on bringing new players to the club during the January transfer window.
With deadline day approaching, the Saints and their new owner Dragan Solak are risking the possibility of not strengthening Ralph Hasenhuttl’s squad and giving the team the best chance of ending their latest season in the Premier League as high up the table as possible.
Taking this into account, one deal that the club could look to complete before the window shuts is one for Fulham’s attacking midfielder Fabio Carvalho, with whom the Saints have been linked in the past and continue to be linked in recent days.
As a product of Fulham’s youth system, the 19-year-old – who has been labelled a “very exciting talent” by Kevin Phillips – has racked up 106 appearances across their under-18, under-23 and senior teams across all competitions, scoring 41 goals and providing 22 assists along the way.
With 17 league appearances under his belt for Marco Silva’s team this season, the teenager has scored seven goals and provided three assists, with three goals and two assists in his three previous starts for the club. This highlights how important he is to the west Londoners and why they may be reluctant to sell him at this stage of the season.
The 19-year-old’s performances have also been rather eye-catching, with WhoScored listing him as Fulham’s fifth-highest rated player with an overall rating of 7.24/10. That would comfortably make him Southampton’s highest-rated player by the same metric.
Even though Fulham are looking very likely to win promotion back to the Premier League at the end of the season, Southampton could offer Carvalho a shortcut to the top flight this month to see if he’d be tempted to try his hand at a new club in no real danger of being relegated and where he might get regular game-time.
Also, with the £3.15m-rated youngster’s current contract at Craven Cottage set to expire in the summer, selling him this month for a fee could be a better option for Fulham from a financial point of view rather than risking him leaving as a free agent at the end of the season.
With deadline day in sight, Hasenhuttl would surely be delighted if Southampton were able to bring in a young and exciting attacking prospect such as Carvalho who could grow into a real star for the Saints and make them stronger going forward based on his evident talents in the final third.