Southampton could include Michael Obafemi as a makeweight in a deal that would see Blackburn Rovers’ £25 million-rated striker Adam Armstrong join the Premier League outfit, as reported by The Sun (11 July, page 61).
With the Championship outfit refusing to budge on its ambitious valuation of a man who’ll be available on a free 12 months from now, the Saints will have to get creative.
Fortunately, one member of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s squad may be capable of twisting Blackburn’s arm.
Rovers boss Tony Mowbray is an admirer of 21-year-old Ireland international Obafemi, whose inclusion in the deal may succeed in driving down Armstrong’s price tag to a more affordable level.
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The Sun reports Southampton are unwilling to match Blackburn’s £25 million asking price for the one-time Newcastle United youngster, having failed with an opening bid last week.
However, with Armstrong reluctant to extend a contract that expires in July 2022, Blackburn may have no choice but to soften their stance later in this transfer window.
Losing your talisman and top scorer is never easy but at least, if Armstrong goes now, his departure would top up the coffers to the tune of £25 million.
The Tyneside-born forward scored a remarkable 29 goals in all competitions last season – the most prolific campaign of any Rovers player since Alan Shearer in the mid-1990s.
In fact, no player in the Championship scored more times from open play, and that includes much-admired Brentford target man Ivan Toney.
Southampton, meanwhile, have stepped up their pursuit of a striker as fears grow regarding the future of Danny Ings at St Mary’s.
And Obafemi, who played just four Premier League games in 2020/21, looks set to be sacrificed after failing to force his way into Hasenhuttl’s XI.
“Others have been better. It is simple,” Hasenhuttl told Hampshire Live.
“The problem with Michael was always he would play one good game and then fall back a little bit and was not professional enough to force or keep his position in the team or in the squad.
“This makes it too easy for others to go above him. I think this is what he must learn.”