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Southampton handed chance to sign Liam Delap

Southampton‘s hopes of signing Manchester City striker Liam Delap have been given a boost, as Pep Guardiola has confirmed that the teenage forward will leave the Etihad on loan.

What’s the word?

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have been heavily linked with the 19-year-old throughout the window, and while they are said to have made a bid to sign him permanently, a loan move seems more likely at this point after having a £16m offer rejected.

Guardiola confirmed earlier this week that: “We loaned ‘Macca’ [James McAtee, to Sheffield United], Liam is in that process because we have Erling and Julian and he needs minutes. The EDS phase is done. He has to try and go there and play the other ones.”

Shields must act

Southampton are arguably looking weaker up front than they did last season, as they have lost Armando Broja and Shane Long, with only 20-year-old Sekou Mara arriving as a new striker.

Delap, who reportedly earns £8k per week, has been in sensational form for Manchester City’s academy side in recent seasons, hitting 35 goals and nine assists in just 36 appearances for the U21s.

He also scored on his debut for the senior side in a cup win against Bournemouth so is clearly in Guardiola’s future plans, but is unlikely to get game time ahead of new signings Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez this season.

The forward, who Guardiola dubbed “exceptional“, could be exactly what Hasenhuttl needs in his squad after a difficult start to the season which has seen his side ship six goals, while all three goals they have scored have come from midfielders or defenders.

Reports have suggested that Che Adams could also leave St Mary’s, which again emphasises the need for a new striker, otherwise, Hasenhuttl would be left with very little depth in attack.

Delap could be a superb addition on loan, especially if he can follow in the footsteps of other successful loanees such as Broja and Kyle Walker-Peters in recent seasons.

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Walker-Peters has been such a hit that he’s already been linked with some of the league’s big boys while Broja is set to earn his chance at Chelsea after bagging nine times throughout 2021/22.

A loan move could also open the door to a permanent swoop in the future, as we saw with the Walker-Peters deal, so head of recruitment Joe Shields must act quickly to bring him to the south coast after seemingly being handed a golden chance to seal a deal.

Article title: Southampton handed chance to sign Liam Delap

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