Ralph Hasenhuttl’s hopes of keeping Danny Ings at Southampton this summer look to have suffered a huge blow, with Manchester City reportedly interested in signing him ahead of next season.
According to Sky Sports, City have identified the 28-year-old as a more attainable replacement for Sergio Aguero than Erling Haaland should the Argentinian leave this summer when his contract expires.
City would be in a strong position to sign Ings, too, given his precarious contract situation at Southampton, with his current deal set to expire at the end of next season.
The former Liverpool man has publicly revealed his desire to play for a club in the Champions League and City would certainly be able to provide that, with Pep Guardiola’s side well on their way towards winning the Premier League title this season.
You would not blame the £19.8m-rated forward for wanting to join a club such as City and play under Guardiola but it would undoubtedly be a huge blow for Hasenhuttl and Southampton, considering Ings’ impressive record on the south coast.
The striker has contributed 42 goals and nine assists in 92 appearances for the Saints, which included 22 goals in the top-flight last season, which saw him finish as the joint-second top scorer in the Premier League.
His performances earned him a call-up to the England squad and, although he has struggled with minor injury problems this season, he still has eight goals and three assists in the top flight.
Given Southampton’s struggles this season, which have seen them dragged into a relegation battle despite a promising start to the campaign, some may worry that without Ings they would struggle to score anywhere near as many goals.
Although Che Adams has found form again recently, he endured a difficult run earlier in the season and it would be tough on him to step up as Southampton’s main goalscorer should Ings depart.
Last season, former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe was full of praise for Ings’ performances in the Premier League, saying: “The most impressive thing about Danny is, of course, he’s an outstanding player.
“Technically he’s very good, plays with real intelligence and the way he’s come back from his disappointments, the injury setbacks he’s had, the way he’s fought back and kept his mental strength has been hugely impressive.”
Although Southampton are clearly desperate for Ings to sign a new deal, it seems clear that he wants to join a Champions League outfit, and this reported interest from Man City could prove to be the catalyst for him leaving the south coast this summer.