Wolves' reported £18m Shoya Nakajima move is a major blow to Southampton

Nuno Espirito Santo the head coach

Southampton target Shoya Nakajima is reportedly on his way to the Premier League - but with Wolverhampton Wanderers instead.

Shoya Nakajima of Japan in action during the international friendly match between Japan and Uruguay at Saitama Stadium on October 16, 2018 in Saitama, Japan.

With Ralph Hasenhuttl confirmed as Southampton’s new manager on Wednesday, it should be immediately clear where the Austrian needs to improve the ailing Premier League side.

Since the start of last season, and perhaps even earlier, The Saints have lacked cutting edge and creativity in attack, a point backed up by the fact that they have managed just 12 goals in 14 league games this season under the now-sacked Mark Hughes.

Though reports from The Mirror (8 November, page 58) suggested that Southampton were set to turn to the Japanese international Shoya Nakajima to solve their goal-scoring problem.

 

Nakajima plays for Portimonense in the Portuguese top flight and in all competitions last season scored 10 goals and produced a further 13 assists. So, on paper at least, the 24-year-old was exactly what Southampton needed in the post-Dusan Tadic era.

Shoya Nakajima of Japan celebrates the equaliser during the International friendly match between Japan and Mali at the Stade de Sclessin on March 23, 2018 in Liege, Belgium.

But it seems that their best laid plans could be scuppered by Wolverhampton Wanderers. Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have looked a little toothless themselves in a run of five defeats in six.

And, according to A Bola, Wolves have come from nowhere to lead the chase for Nakajima. It is understood that they are already in the final stages of negotiations that would see the Far East star move to Molineux for a fee of around £18 million.

Wolves’ gain, then, could be Southampton’s loss if Nakajima brings his perfectly weighted passes and fierce long shots to the Black Country.

Shoya Nakajima of Portimonense SC looks on during the Liga NOS match between Portimonense SC and CD Tondela at Estadio Municipal de Portimao on December 2, 2018 in Portimao, Portugal.

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