Southampton have been linked with summer transfer moves for Arsenal duo Ainsley Maitland-Niles and William Saliba.
According to a report from the Mirror, Saints will return with interest in signing Maitland-Niles after missing out on him in January but will have to fend off Watford’s advances. Foot Mercato claim that Saints are one of a host of teams looking to sign Saliba on loan before the 2021/22 season.
Maitland-Niles is capable of playing as a central-midfielder, a winger or a full-back whilst centre-back Saliba is regarded as a top prospect for the future at just 20.
Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has spoken openly about his desire to have players who can play in a variety of positions and this may be why the former has appeared on their radar over the past six months.
Opportunities opening up for Southampton in the transfer market?
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Back in May’s Online Fans’ Forum, both Ralph Hasenhuttl and Saints CEO Martin Semmens spoke about how the club would be aiming to do some early business but also how there could be some “gifts” at the back end of the transfer window.
It could well be that we see two or three completed deals before pre-season fully starts and then players like Maitland-Niles or Saliba will be making choices on their own futures – potentially opening their services up to teams like Saints.
The club will surely have a list of targets for each position that they want to strengthen. Some of those targets may seem unrealistic at first but could then become more likely as the window moves on.
Players on the fringes of a top-six club, for example, often spend part of pre-season with their parent clubs before being told they will not have a first-choice place, and this then forces them to open up to a loan move.
Saints have been linked to plenty of players by a range of sources once again this summer with Romain Perraud looking set to be their first confirmed signing from Stade Brest.