New Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino will contact his Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola over the availability of playmaker Patrick Roberts for a one-year loan deal, according to reports from Mail Online.
The new Saints boss, appointed in the wake of Claude Puel’s sacking after just one season, has had their first pre-season training camp in Austria to asses his squad and the changes that need making ahead of his maiden Premier League campaign.
The club have bought just the one player so far this window, Polish defender Jan Bednarek, but will surely have to add further if they are to improve on their 8th place finish last season which saw Puel axed.
While their placing in the table was acceptable, it was the negative style of football which saw the Frenchman walk, meaning exciting attacking players are the order of the day on the south coast.
Roberts enjoyed a promising loan spell with Scottish champions Celtic over the past two seasons and returned to Manchester this summer having scored 11 goals and picked up 19 assists in the Celts’ invincibles campaign.
It would seem so, for both parties. While Guardiola will have a packed schedule to navigate over the next nine or ten months, it’s hard to envisage Roberts getting too much game time, meaning a loan move would be beneficial, especially one where he’ll be playing Premier League football.
At St. Mary’s, more creative spark is desperately needed. The Saints too often failed to break sides down and create chances last season and, whether the 20-year-old started or made an effort off the bench he would be of great use.
Although playing at a slightly lower standard for the majority of last season (barring six Champions League appearances), his tally of 19 assists in all competitions is 11 higher than Southampton’s top creator, Dusan Tadic.
With such an alarming lack of creativity last term, there seems no harm in bringing in a player of Roberts’ quality to the fold, even if it’s just for the one season.