Southampton are looking increasingly likely to sign Theo Walcott from Everton in the summer, and if he were to join the Saints permanently, it could prove to be bad news for rising star Nathan Tella.
Speaking to Hampshire Live recently, Raph Hasenhuttl hinted that the 32-year-old could join from the Toffees permanently this summer, saying: “I am very happy that he is comfortable here now and that he is happy to play for us and there is no reason why we should not think about keeping him longer.”
Therefore, given that the £5.4m-rated Englishman has been a regular in Hasenhuttl’s side so far this season, making 16 appearances in the Premier League, it seems fairly likely that he will be with the Saints again next term.
Unfortunately, this could prove to be bad news for 21-year-old Tella, who enjoyed a run in the Southampton side earlier in the season when Walcott was injured.
He particularly impressed in the 2-0 win against Sheffield United in March, when his pace caused the Blades defence all sorts of problems and led to him winning a penalty in the first half, which James Ward-Prowse duly tucked away.
Tella has shown this season that he is too good to be playing in Premier League 2, as he memorably scored four goals as a striker against Leicester City under-21s earlier in the season, so he needs to be playing regular senior football for his development next season.
However, with the likes of Nathan Redmond, Moussa Djenepo and Stuart Armstrong already at the club, you worry that the permanent signing of Walcott is going to mean the 21-year-old is afforded very little playing time by Hasenhuttl.
Therefore, perhaps we will see Tella leave Southampton on loan next season, for if Walcott does join on a permanent deal, it is difficult to see where the youngster fits in.