Southampton’s hopes of signing Adam Armstrong this summer have taken a blow after Watford joined the race to sign the Blackburn Rovers forward.
The Saints have been regularly linked with the 24-year-old throughout the summer and looked to be in pole position to bring him to St Mary’s, with recent reports suggesting that Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side could make an offer of cash plus Michael Obafemi for the former Newcastle man.
However, The Sun have now claimed that Watford have registered an interest in Armstrong and could offer a similar deal to Southampton, with Andre Gray potentially heading to Ewood Park as part of the transfer.
It is is no surprise to see him attracting so much interest this summer, as he hit 28 goals in the Championship last season, while his contract at Ewood Park is set to expire next year, so it seems inevitable that he will earn a move to the Premier League.
Given that Gray is a proven goalscorer in the Championship, with 46 goals in the second tier in his career so far, Tony Mowbray’s side may well prefer the experienced 30-year-old over Obafemi, given that the Southampton youngster has just five goals in his senior career.
Therefore, if the two Premier League clubs offer the same amount of cash and these players, it would not be a surprise to see Blackburn accept the bid from the Hornets ahead of Southampton, which may require the Saints to rethink their offer.
Although the south coast club hold the advantage of being a more established Premier League side than Watford, their wretched form in the second half of last season suggests that they could well find themselves in the same relegation battle as Xisco Munoz’s men during the 2021/22 campaign, so it could be a difficult choice for Armstrong to make.
The Saints have reportedly seen a bid for the “explosive” striker rejected, so with the news that Watford are also showing a keen interest in Armstrong, Southampton vice-chairman Martin Semmens must work quickly in order to bring the striker to St Mary’s.