Southampton: Work permit issues prevent Saints signing midfielder

Southampton reportedly missed out on signing Sporting CP midfielder Idrissa Doumbia after work permit issues halted a move to England.

According to a report from sabah.com, Saints and Watford were both looking to sign the £5m-rated Ivorian but that has not been possible.

Ralph Hasenhuttl confirmed recently that Saints were actively looking to bring in a midfielder to replace Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg before the transfer window closes in October.

Celtic man Olivier Ntcham and Weston McKennie were linked previously but it appears that Saints have moved onto other options – especially since McKennie chose to join Juventus on an initial loan deal.

Idrissa Doumbia of Sporting CP (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)

Doumbia seems to be a similar sort of player and it is clear to see why Saints were interested in bringing him to the Premier League.

During the 2019/20 season, the 22-year-old recorded superb passing stats when he played for Sporting in Liga NOS and in the Portuguese cup.

His pass success rate of 91.8% was the fourth highest in the Portuguese top-flight during the last campaign and he was a bright point in an otherwise disappointing campaign for Sporting.

Doumbia’s ability to retain and recycle the ball was obviously attractive to Saints and it is clear that he could grow a lot as a player in the future. Supporting the likes of James Ward-Prowse, Oriol Romeu and Will Smallbone could have also been an ideal step for him.

However, it appears that he will now be joining Turkish giants Galatasaray after being asked to take a 40% pay cut at Sporting if he was to remain in Lisbon.

In all, he has played 49 games for Sporting in all competitions. His record of one goal and one assist in these matches proves that his game is all about ball progression and starting dangerous attacks with his passing ability.

Saints must now move onto other targets if they are to bring in cover in central-midfield and Ralph Hasenhuttl has confirmed that this could be a permanent or loan move.

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