Southampton have reportedly been scouting Bristol City midfielder Tyreeq Bakinson recently, and if he were to join Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side in the summer, it could be bad news for Will Smallbone.
According to the Bristol Post, Southampton scouts have been in attendance at Ashton Gate for recent Championship fixtures and have been keeping a close eye on Bakinson, who has established himself as a regular with the Robins this season.
The 22-year-old has spent the last two seasons on loan at Newport County and Plymouth Argyle but clearly impressed the management team with his performances in League Two, as he has gone on to make 28 appearances in the Championship for Bristol City so far this season.
Bakinson is currently rated at just £810,000 by Transfermarkt, and given that his contract is set to expire at the end of next season, he could represent a cheap option for Southampton in the summer transfer window if they want to add to their midfield options ahead of next season.
However, if he were to make the move to St Mary’s, then you worry that it could have a negative impact on Smallbone’s playing time under Hasenhuttl.
After making nine appearances in the Premier League last season, it was perhaps hoped that the Republic of Ireland underage international would push on and become a regular this season, but he has managed just three appearances in the top flight.
One of those was in the 2-0 defeat against Leicester City, when he was unfortunately forced off through what was later revealed to be an ACL injury in his knee, which is set to keep him sidelined for a significant period.
Therefore, there should definitely a concern that, given the time it will take Smallbone to recover from his injury, he could slip even further down the pecking order in Southampton’s midfield, especially if Bakinson were to make the switch to St Mary’s.