Southampton have been linked with both Junior Firpo and Brandon Williams recently, but who would be the better addition to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side this summer?
Southampton were heavily linked with the Manchester United full-back during the January transfer window and, whilst that deal fell through, The Athletic have suggested that Hasenhuttl’s side will return for him this summer ahead of a potential loan deal.
The 20-year-old defender has dropped down the pecking order at Old Trafford this season due to the signing of Alex Telles and the impressive form of Luke Shaw, which led to him making just four appearances in the Premier League.
Whilst it is likely that the £9m-rated youngster would initially join on loan, it could prove to be a repeat of the deal which saw Southampton sign Kyle Walker-Peters on a temporary basis in January 2020 before being convinced to make his stay a permanent one last summer.
According to ESPN, Southampton have asked about Firpo’s situation at Barcelona ahead of a potential summer move, with the former Real Betis man having struggled for regular game-time at the Nou Camp due to the form of Jordi Alba.
Barcelona are reportedly keen to sell the 24-year-old as they attempt to raise funds through the sales of deadwood in Ronald Koeman’s squad, although they may be keen to recoup a significant percentage of the £16.3m they paid for him in 2019.
Given that Hasenhuttl has claimed Southampton will target players under £10m this summer and Firpo is also valued at £9m, it seems as if both are viable options for the Austrian this summer.
However, Williams allows for a trial period if he joins on loan with no obligation to buy, whereas the Spaniard would have little resale value if he signed permanently and failed to impress.
Williams is also younger than Firpo, can feature as a right-back so has more versatility, and has the added bonus of being English which helps with registration issues, so it seems as if he would be the better addition this summer at least.
Therefore, Martin Semmens should forget about signing Firpo and instead focus on bringing Manchester United’s “exciting, young English talent” – in the words of Gary Lineker – to St Mary’s.