For the majority of the 2017/18 Premier League season, Southampton were in serious relegation trouble as Mark Hughes’ late appointment in the place of Mauricio Pellegrino ultimately saved the Saints from dropping down to the Championship.
With the south coast club in danger, they sought to break their transfer fee record by signing Dutch winger Quincy Promes from Russian outfit Spartak Moscow. The Saints reportedly bid £25m for the then-26-year-old, with Spartak holding out for £30m, but a deal was never completed in time.
Fast forward four years and Southampton are still in the English top flight and are targeting a first top-half finish in five years, whilst Promes is back at Spartak after spells with Sevilla and Ajax. However, there has been plenty of controversy surrounding the Netherlands international.
This week it was reported that the winger is set to face attempted murder charges according to Dutch prosecutors, having been arrested in December 2020 in connection with a stabbing of his cousin which occurred earlier that year.
Whilst Promes faces serious business off of the pitch, there hasn’t been much success on it either.
After a proposed move to Southampton failed, the Dutchman finished the 2017/18 season in Russia before making the switch to Spain to play for Sevilla.
Upon signing for the Andalucian club, Promes’ market value was at its peak according to Transfermarkt, with the winger valued at £21.6m. However, by the end of the 2018/19 campaign, his value had fallen to £16.2m.
Promes’ start to life in Amsterdam was excellent as he scored 14 goals before Christmas, which saw his market value rise by £3.6m to £19.8m. However, this was the marker for a continued depreciation in value.
With just two more goals scored after Christmas that season, the winger saw his worth drop to £15.75m at the end of the campaign, before falling again in January 2021 when re-signing for Spartak Moscow.
Granted, age is a contributing factor with the winger now 30. However, hindsight is a wonderful thing, and looking at how the Dutchman’s career has gone over the last four years, Southampton may well have gotten away from making a mistake which could’ve had seriously dire consequences.
After failing to bring in Promes, the Saints signed wide players Stuart Armstrong and Mohamed Elyounoussi, both of whom are still at the club, although the former has certainly enjoyed his spell at Southampton more than the latter.
Armstrong has been integral for the Saints since joining from Celtic, with the Scotland international making 123 appearances in red and white.
As for Elyounoussi, following a poor first campaign in England after joining from FC Basel, the Norwegian joined Armstrong’s former employers Celtic for two years on loan before being reintegrated into Ralph Hasenhuttl’s plans this season. The 27-year-old has massively improved since returning to St Mary’s, scoring seven goals in 23 appearances.
Although Southampton haven’t had wingers reach the heights of Sadio Mané’s spell on the south coast, they did end up being lucky when missing out on Promes.
The Saints survived in the top flight that season and, if they had spent serious money on Promes and gone down, who knows what sort of predicament the Hampshire club could be in now.