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Three strikers Southampton should target this summer to replace Adams

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SAINTS are in need of a new number nine following Che Adams’ decision, as of now, to not sign a new contract.

While no official word has come from Saints regarding the Scotland international’s future, he is now free to join any club after the expiration of his Southampton contract.

With Saints reportedly missing out on Manchester City’s Liam Delap to Ipswich Town, attention will need to turn elsewhere.

Here are three potential options we think could strengthen Southampton’s forward line this season…

 

Ben Brereton Díaz

On a personal level, Villarreal’s Ben Brereton Díaz enjoyed a successful loan spell at Sheffield United during the second half of last season.

Although his goals were unable to keep the Blades in the Premier League, his return of six goals from 14 games was rather impressive.

Prior to making a move to Spain, the 25 year old proved to be a prolific goalscorer in the Championship, hitting 36 goals across his last two seasons in the division.

 

The former Blackburn and Nottingham Forest forward is capable of playing out wide, meaning he could rotate fluidly with Adam Armstrong in attack.

Part of Adams’ role last term was bringing his teammates into the game by dropping deep and playing the ball forward.

His 3.46 progressive passes per 90 minutes ranked him in the 96th percentile last season when compared to players outside of Europe’s top five divisions.

Brereton Díaz operated at an average just below Adams at 3.11, which sees him rank in the top 86 percentile in the top five divisions.

The Staffordshire-born Chile international is reportedly on Southampton’s list of targets this summer so a deal could be possible.

Southampton are reportedly interested in Ben Brereton DiazSouthampton are reportedly interested in Ben Brereton Diaz (Image: PA)

Thijs Dallinga

Scroll through Southampton-related content on social media and you are bound to come across a fan suggesting the club sign Thijs Dallinga.

In his young career so far, Dallinga, 23, has proven himself to be a prolific goalscorer.

He has just completed his second season in Ligue 1 with Toulouse, where he scored 19 goals across all competitions.

His tally from last season includes goals in both ties against Liverpool in the Europa League.

 

Dallinga has shown a propensity for clinical one-touch finishing. He is comfortable turning crosses beyond goalkeepers with a well-placed low finish or header.

Although not the type of forward to constantly break past opponents, he has shown an ability to create space for himself to shoot with good close-touch dribbling.

After two prolific spells in France, Dallinga could have eyes on the next step of his career as he looks to establish himself as a Dutch international.

He has previously been linked with Premier League sides such as Bournemouth, but perhaps now is the time for Saints to make a move.

 

Kévin Denkey

By far the least well-known and most risky name on this list, Kévin Denkey enjoyed a brilliant season in the Belgian Pro League last season.

The Togo international fired 28 goals from 39 games across the league and cup for Cercle Brugge.

Southampton have been stung by strikers coming out of Belgium in recent years.

Paul Onuachu’s arrival transpired to be a nightmare, but that shouldn’t turn the club away from an entire division.

Denkey, 23, outperformed his league xG (19.2) by four goals last term in a Cercle side that finished fourth, in large part due to his prolific goalscoring.

In addition to being good in front of goal, Denkey works tirelessly off the ball. He can often be seen dropping deeper to receive the ball, a trait Martin will appreciate.

His 2.77 shot-creating actions per 90 minutes rank higher than Adams (2.60). His 66.5 per cent pass completion rate would need to improve, however.

He is also the type of forward who is willing to defend from the front, although he could do with improving his 43 per cent tackle success rate.

 

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