Southampton may find themselves scrambling to find an heir to Danny Ings this summer, should the 28-year-old complete a move to Premier League champions-elect Manchester City, but Ralph Hasenhuttl may already have a ready-made replacement in Mohamed Elyounoussi.
The Norwegian international is currently in his second successive season on loan with Celtic in the Scottish Premiership and it has been suggested recently that he will be given an opportunity to impress by Hasenhuttl ahead of next season.
The Austrian reportedly told the winger last month that he could still work his way into Southampton’s plans for next season with some impressive performances in Scotland and he produced a stunning display at the weekend, contributing two goals and an assist in Celtic’s 6-0 win against Livingston. That saw him earn a superb 9.81/10 rating from WhoScored.
The 26-year-old has now managed 22 goals and 14 assists for the Hoops in just 61 appearances, including 15 in all competitions this season, so he could return to Southampton in confident form ahead of next season.
However, if Ings does join Man City, or any other side in the Champions League next season who might be interested in the England international, then Hasenhuttl could turn to Elyounoussi as his successor.
We have seen Nathan Redmond, Theo Walcott and Nathan Tella all perform well on occasion when playing as a striker this season and perhaps the Norwegian could be rejuvenated playing in a different role for Southampton after boosting his confidence with regular goals and assists in Scotland.
Earlier in the season, BBC journalist Tom English was full of praise for Elyounoussi, saying:
“He has an awful lot to offer and that performance will fill Neil Lennon with an awful lot of heart because if he’s back to his best, Elyounoussi is a very, very dangerous player.”
He has featured as a centre-forward in the past and could provide a more clinical option than the likes of Redmond and Walcott, who have both struggled for goals in the Premier League this season.
Certainly, Elyounoussi deserves another chance to show what he can do at Southampton, and if the talismanic Ings does leave, perhaps we could see him step up as his replacement.