Southampton have forged a reputation as shrewd operators in the transfer market since returning to the Premier League two seasons ago and will do that tag no harm if they successfully land their latest target.
The south-coast club are reportedly interested in signing Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford in the summer, having been impressed with the youngster’s eye for goal while playing on loan at Championship club Middlesbrough this term.
Bamford has notched 17 goals for the north east club this season, firing the side to a promotion push and earning the Championship Player of the Year award for his efforts.
Whether that record, which follows an eight-goal haul in a short temporary stint at Derby last term, is enough to convince the Blues to use him themselves next season is questionable, especially with Jose Mourinho’s poor track record for giving youth a chance.
On that basis, the Saints stand a good chance of buying the Grantham native, although another loan stint looks to be the most likely option.
Ronald Koeman will need to look at adding to his striking options this summer, after relying heavily on another recent acquisition, Graziano Pelle, to score the bulk of the club’s goals during the campaign.
The Italian endured a dry spell through the middle part of the season and the club only have Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez, who is strongly linked with a move away from St Mary’s, available as back up.
Should Koeman’s pursuit of European football for next season be successful the Dutchman will need to bolster his squad to cope with the extra demand.
Chelsea may well view the extra experience as the perfect breeding ground for Bamford, before ingratiating him into their side a year further down the line.
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