Multiple sources are reporting that Southampton are linked to a handful of players this transfer window, however details have been no less cryptic than “a big name” from France, which has left fans pondering. Here are six players currently playing in Ligue 1 who fulfill that criteria and could save our season.
There’s no hiding the fact that we’re still struggling for goals and former Manchester City forward Jovetić, who joined Monaco last summer in response to Mbappé’s departure, might just be the answer. The most recent of his goals came in a 2-5 away win in the league cup against fourth tier side Moulins Yzeure.
After several moves and loans in the last few years, Jovetić may be looking to finally settle down elsewhere, but are we the right club to get the best out of Montenegro’s all time leading top goalscorer?
This isn’t the first time we’ve been linked to the 24-year-old attacker, he was a target for then manager Claude Puel last January. However, we inevitably settled on Manolo Gabbiadini and Pléa stayed put.
The agile and versatile forward is making headlines in France for all the right reasons having finished last season with 11 goals following an injury that kept him out for several months. Despite struggling to replicate that league form, Pléa still managed 4 goals and an assist in 5 Europa League games, earning 1 MOTM award in the process, and is eager to develop further.
With Virgil Van Dijk’s controversial departure to Liverpool, it’s evident that fans want a replacement before this window slams shut, and Jullien has reportedly been on our radar for some time. The 24-year-old defender has played 18 Ligue 1 games for Toulouse this season, recording 2 MOTM performances.
Despite consistently good performances, Toulouse sit a lowly 17th in the table, meaning Jullien may be looking to jump ship this month rather than risk a relegation battle in the second half of the season.
Jovetić is not the only Monaco forward we’re linked to. Multiple sources are reporting that we are prepared to bid around £17.5m for Argentine forward Guido Carrillo later this month. Standing at 6’2″, the 26-year-old could just be the targetman fans and creative players alike have been crying out for, having scored a goal on average every 69 minutes for Monaco this season.
Mostly utilised as a substitute, Carrillo may be looking to be the star striker elsewhere and being Argentine himself, surely Pellegrino could convince him to come to St Mary’s?
Former Manchester City, but more recently Liverpool flop Mario Balotelli is looking a changed player after rediscovering his form for OGC Nice over the last two seasons. The Italian has a very impressive tally of 16 goals from 21 games in all competitions this season, including 2 MOTM performances.
OGC Nice are currently 6th place in the Ligue 1 table and some would call us a downgrade on that, but the 27-year-old definitely has a point to prove in this league.
Jean Michaël Seri
Keeping with OGC Nice, Ivorian midfielder Seri was someone we were in contact with last summer, however we opted for Lemina instead as neither us nor Leicester were prepared to meet his €40 million buyout clause. Interest from big clubs has died down somewhat since and Pellegrino may be looking to bolster our midfield with a big name signing as a statement of intent and as an attempt to get the fans back on his side.
However, our midfield is arguably our strongest position with the most depth, so as good of a coup as this may be, Seri would have to be accompanied by several other signings in other positions to make this January window truly successful.
Hatem Ben Arfa
Struggling for game time under Unai Emery, it’s no secret that Ben Arfa isn’t happy at PSG. The skillful midfielder has played just 63 minutes of football this season and has caught the eye of multiple clubs including Leicester City, West Ham and Fenerbache.
If Hatem could find the form that saw him get 17 goals and 6 assists in 33 games for OGC Nice in 2015/16, we could be in for a treat. Whether he would be willing to take the pay cut necessary for us to be able to afford him however is another story.
Will Pellegrino bring any of these players to St Mary’s this month? Reports are already suggesting that we’re due an active transfer window, with the Argentine expected to bring Theo Walcott back to St Mary’s among other signings to help solve our offensive and defensive issues this season.
Stats Source: whoscored.com