Southampton have been linked with moves for Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Winks recently but who would be the better addition to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side?
According to Football Insider, Southampton are keeping tabs on the England international, who has struggled to force his way into Jose Mourinho’s plans at Spurs in recent months.
The 25-year-old has made just seven starts in the top-flight this season and has struggled to impress, as he seemingly doesn’t suit Mourinho’s counter-attacking style of play, which perhaps relies on hard-tackling, box-to-box midfielders rather than a playmaker such as Winks.
Although he has now made 167 appearances for Spurs having progressed through their academy, he has just four goals and four assists to his name, so wouldn’t offer Hasenhuttl’s side much in an attacking sense.
According to The Telegraph, Southampton are likely to return for Maitland-Niles in the summer after seeing a January loan move for the 23-year-old breakdown, with the Arsenal academy graduate keen to leave his boyhood club after a lack of first-team opportunities under Mikel Arteta.
Since joining West Brom on loan, the England international has made eight appearances for the Baggies and averaged a solid 6.61 rating for Sam Allardyce’s side and will have a chance to impress Hasenhuttl when Southampton travel to the Hawthorns on Monday evening.
Although he has suggested that he wants to play as a midfielder, some of his most impressive displays at Arsenal have come as a wing-back, so he could offer the Austrian manager excellent cover at full-back next season should he join.
Maitland-Niles has clearly outperformed Winks this season despite playing in a poorer team, so would arguably be a better option in the summer for Southampton.
He would offer Hasenhuttl more versatility and is younger than Winks so has more scope to improve in the future, whilst his reported interest in leaving Arsenal could see his asking price lowered.
Stuart Pearce claimed earlier in the season that he thought Maitland-Niles had been “outstanding” for Arsenal at the start of the season, so he could definitely add something to Southampton if he were to make the move to St Mary’s.
Therefore, Martin Semmens should perhaps forget about signing Winks and instead focus on bringing the £16.2m-rated Maitland-Niles to Southampton this summer.
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