Promotion hopefuls Southampton are keen to strengthen their bid to return to the Premier League by dipping into the January transfer market and have reportedly identified the perfect player for Russell Martin’s system.
The Saints are flying at the moment. A 1-1 draw away at Norwich City will certainly have been a disappointing result for the club, having taken the lead during the game, but Southampton still managed to extend their unbeaten run to 18 matches.
Martin’s side have now remained undefeated since the end of September when the team suffered a 2-1 defeat at Middlesbrough to cap off a four-game losing streak.
Southampton will have been gutted not to claw back even more ground on Ipswich Town as the latter dropped points yet again on Monday and are now winless in five matches in the Championship.
The Tractor Boys are hanging onto second place for dear life but have some gruelling fixtures on the near horizon against Sunderland and Leicester City, meaning the Saints could be inside the top two by the end of the month.
Nevertheless, the draw at Carrow Road two days ago proved that work still needs to be done if Southampton are to return to the promised land of the Premier League at the first time of asking and, according to reports, the club will look to add to the squad before the end of this month.
According to TeamTalk, Southampton are keen to bring Aston Villa playmaker Finn Azaz to the club before the transfer deadline slams shut but face competition from Middlesbrough for his signature.
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The Irishman has spent the last 18 months on loan at Plymouth Argyle and has been instrumental in the Pilgrims’ fight for survival this season, having scored seven goals and recorded five assists in 28 appearances in all competitions.
Furthermore, the midfielder has seen his transfer value rise to £1.3 million. TeamTalk have claimed that Villa will consider recalling Azaz and selling him on permanently should the Saints “firm up their interest”.
This would be a massive blow for Plymouth. The managerless side are the fifth-highest goalscorers in the Championship and Azaz’s 12 goal contributions have been instrumental to this, alongside Ryan Hardie and Morgan Whittaker.
Nevertheless, it would be a very astute acquisition for Southampton should they get a deal over the line. Azaz could come cheaply and has proven he has what it takes to play in this division. A move to the St. Mary’s Stadium could raise his levels even further.