May 26, 2024

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Nottingham Forest and Luton join Bournemouth, Sunderland and Hull City in race for Southampton player

Will Smallbone is wanted by clubs in the Premier League and Championship following his performances for Stoke City last season

With the potential sales of Romeo Lavia and James Ward-Prowse this summer, Southampton could have to turn to players they have let develop elsewhere to bolster their Championship squad.

The Saints are likely going to rake in significant funds from Lavia and Ward-Prowse’s expected departures in the coming weeks, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that a lot of money will be spent to secure replacements

Russell Martin is short in the middle of the park but he does already have some players at the club, such as new signing Shea Charles from Man City and Charly Alcaraz, a January signing from Racing Club that impressed in his first half-season at St Mary’s Stadium.

Belgian journalist explains why Romeo Lavia is likely to choose Liverpool  over Chelsea - The Empire of The Kop

But one player who could be welcomed back into the fold is Will Smallbone, who now has regular Championship experience having been sent to Stoke City for the 2022-23 campaign.

Having played 20 times before last season for the Saints, it was decided that the midfielder needed a season away to hone his craft, and in his final few months with the Potters he started to show what he was all about.

Smallbone played 46 times for City last season, scoring three times and notching five assists, and even though he looks to be a part of Martin’s plans in the upcoming campaign, there is transfer interest in his services.

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Premier League and Championship clubs interested in Smallbone

As reported by Football Transfers last month, Southampton’s south coast rivals Bournemouth were looking into the possibility of a move for Smallbone off the back of last season’s performances, and he was also being tracked by Hull City, Birmingham and Sunderland.

However, they have now been joined by two other top flight clubs who could now take advantage in the potential race.

According to the Daily Mail, Premier League newboys Luton Town are also showing an interest in the 23-year-old, as well as Nottingham Forest, although the latter have a plethora of midfielders in their squad that would almost surely mean a sale or two would need to happen to accomodate the Republic of Ireland international.

James Ward Prowse: Southampton reject Aston Villa bid for midfielder |  Football News | Sky Sports

What is Will Smallbone’s contract situation at Southampton?

Smallbone has been at Southampton since he was a child and signed his first professional contract in 2017.

The most recent deal that the midfielder signed was in 2020 when he penned a new four-year contract with the club, and although he was expected to put pen to paper on an extended deal before he went to Stoke on loan last year, nothing official was ever communicated.

That means Smallbone’s current contract expires next June, bringing him into the final 12 months of his time at Southampton unless he signs a fresh extension.

His contract situation has perhaps put clubs in the Championship and higher up on alert in regards to his potential availability, although he has admitted this week that he is excited to be back at St Mary’s Stadium and be in the plans of Martin.

It is now a case of wait and see in regards to whether or not interest turns into official offers, and it will be interesting to see if Smallbone starts for Southampton next Friday in their Championship opener against Sheffield Wednesday.

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