Nottingham Forest defender Joe Worrall has hinted that a move to Southampton was close after transfer links appeared back in the summer transfer window.
Worrall’s name was mentioned as Saints looked to sign a new central-defender to fill the void left by Jannik Vestergaard, but they ultimately decided to settle on a move for Lyanco from Torino.
Speaking to BBC Radio Nottingham (as noted by Nottingham Live), Worrall said:
"“It was very close in the summer with a certain club. I had a Zoom meeting with the manager. We discussed monies, accepted monies. For me, I’m very glad it didn’t work. They’re doing very well in the Prem, but there’s just something inside me that’s happy I didn’t go.”"
Could Southampton target Worrall again in the future?
Southampton’s centre-back options are pretty set right now. Mohammed Salisu and Jan Bednarek have played well together, and Jack Stephens had done equally well in Bednarek’s place earlier this season.
Lyanco has made just two starts so far but is considered a long-term project as he adjusts to the demands of English football compared to the Italian Serie A. His first game against Sheffield United in the League Cup saw him exposed a couple of times, but his showing in the next round against Chelsea was outstanding.
With youth players potentially coming through in future seasons too, there seems to be no need for an extra defender at this time. Therefore, a move for Worrall in January can be considered unlikely unless Southampton suffer with significant injury problems.
What is likely to happen is Worrall being a name on a shortlist for future transfer windows. It is well-known that Saints always have multiple alternatives on a list should one of their squad leave and they also do this with managers – allowing swift action if it is needed.
The most notable things that Worrall has in his favour as other clubs look at him are his age and the fact that he has captained teams he has played in. Southampton will have seen potential to grow in the 24-year-old and also an ability to provide some leadership were they ever to secure a deal.