Premier League trio eyeing Southampton prospect – Blackburn, Sunderland among sides also keen
Southampton’s Will Smallbone has drawn interest in Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth, Luton Town, Sunderland, Blackburn Rovers and Hull City, as per the Daily Mail.
Southampton midfielder Smallbone has long been viewed as a promising player for the future. The 23-year-old has played 20 times for the Saints’ first-team but it was on loan with Stoke City last season where he really announced himself as one to watch.
The Republic of Ireland international managed three goals and five assists in 46 games for the Potters, becoming a mainstay under Alex Neil and developing well over the course of the campaign.
After a strong showing and Southampton’s relegation, many have been tipping him to become a regular at St. Mary’s ahead of the new season. However, it could be that he’s tempted away from the Saints amid interest from six clubs.
The Daily Mail reports that Premier League trio Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth and Luton Town have all been keeping an eye on Smallbone. Championship rivals Sunderland, Blackburn Rovers and Hull City also hold an interest.
As a result, Southampton are braced for bids as Smallbone enters the final 12 months of his contract.
Relegated clubs often see their players picked at by opportunistic teams and while there have been exits, Southampton have been standing firm and holding off interest in their star players. The Saints have made their valuations and they’re sticking to them firmly, despite their drop to the Championship.
It remains to be seen just whether or not the interest in Smallbone is firmed up but with the midfielder drawing admiring glances from the Premier League and the Championship, their resolve could be tested soon.
If Smallbone stays, this could be a real chance for him to become a regular with Southampton. He’s had to bide his time for a chance to start regularly but having shown his abilities in the second-tier, Russell Martin should know he’s a player he can put his trust in if he stays.