A major update has emerged on Jacob Murphy and it could lead to a transfer masterclass from Southampton CEO Martin Semmens.
According to The Sun, the Saints are among a number of clubs interested in a deal to sign the 26-year-old from Newcastle this summer. The report claims that Leeds, Burnley, Galatasaray, Porto and Bayer Leverkusen are also keen on the former Norwich man.
Murphy is out of contract at the end of next season and could soon be available on a free transfer if he opts against signing an extension at Newcastle. Steve Bruce is said to be keen to keep him at the club and Newcastle are working hard to tie him down to a new deal amid interest from elsewhere.
Back in October 2020, Bruce praised the “matured” 26-year-old, highlighting his physical development in recent years. He told the Shropshire Star: “I never contemplated it (a loan move) from the first week he was back. He was a different player. Certainly physically he’s come back in really good condition.
“We all know he’s a good athlete and he certainly looks like he’s matured. He had been practicing free-kicks on Thursday in training and I was thinking ‘let’s see if he can do it again’.”
Southampton CEO Semmens could be about to pull off a masterstroke if he can land Murphy.
The Daily Mail reported earlier this week that Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl wants to sign a right-back to challenge Kyle Walker-Peters this summer and Murphy could be the perfect addition to the squad to fill that role. He is capable of playing at right-back as well as on the wing and could be a cheap, versatile option for Southampton to bring in.
Interestingly, he posted better statistics in the Premier League at right-back for Newcastle than Walker-Peters did for the Saints. Murphy averaged an impressive WhoScored rating of 6.9 in 13 starts in that role, scoring twice and setting up another goal. Walker-Peters averaged a slightly lower score of 6.84 in 30 starts, failing to score a goal but setting up two for his team-mates.
This suggests that Murphy is on a par with Walker-Peters, if not slightly better, and could provide him with some excellent competition next season.
The two could battle it out for the starting spot at right-back in Hasenhuttl’s team and help each other raise their game in the process. Competition for places is important to avoid complacency and Murphy could keep the Saints full-back on his toes if he arrives at St Mary’s.
The £25,000-per-week dynamo can also play on the wing and he hit 17 Championship goals across two separate campaigns for Sheffield Wednesday and Norwich whilst playing in a forward position. This means that Hasenhuttl could also utilise him in a more advanced position if he is unable to break into the team at right-back.
Murphy could be a superb signing for Southampton and Semmens could pull off a masterstroke by bringing him in.