Why Southampton Should Act Fast To Sign Stuart Armstrong From Celtic
Southampton have been monitoring Celtic midfielder Stuart Armstrong and are plotting a £10million move for the player, the Daily Mail reported earlier this month.
The Scotland international is in the final year of his contract with the Parkhead outfit and there has been no announcement of a new deal yet. And after he was benched by manager Brendan Rodgers for the UEFA Champions League qualifier second leg game against Linfield, rumours of his potential departure have intensified.
The 25-year old Armstrong enjoyed one of his finest campaigns last time around which has seen his stock rise rapidly and the Saints new manager Mauricio Pellegrino seems to have identified him as a target for the summer, while fellow Premier League outfit West Bromwich Albion too, are strongly interested in the player.
Armstrong finished last season with an excellent tally of 17 goals and 7 assists from 47 games in all competitions, despite playing in a deep midfield role, playing a pivotal role in the club finishing as the undisputed champions of Scotland – winning the Scottish Premiership, Scottish Cup and the League Cup. His exploits for the Hoops earned him a nomination for the PFA Scotland Player of the Year as well. The former Dundee United man also scored a goal in the 4-0 drubbing of Linfield in the qualifier coming on as a substitute last week.
A very good passer of the ball and a top-notch set piece taker, Armstrong also possesses the ability to make runs into the final third and score goals by himself, as indicated by his goal tally last season. A highly intelligent operator, he renders an element of dynamism to the midfield with his energy and running. Extremely effective going forward, Armstrong can hold his own when performing the defensive side of his duties as well.
Technically gifted and tactically very aware, the Scottish international has shown great desire and hunger over the last year in order to develop into the player that he has become. A leader on the field and in the dressing room, Armstrong has shown all the right qualities of developing into a fine central midfielder.
Southampton do have a well-rounded squad at their disposal, but there are severe doubts over the future of midfielder Jordy Clasie, who is intent on leaving, in order to get more first-team football. With Pellegrino’s preference of playing a three-man midfield in a 4-3-3 setup, an energetic and dynamic presence like Armstrong, who can provide the drive from the middle of the park can turn out to be an excellent addition.
And with the number of goals that he can create and score, it will ease a lot of pressure on the likes of Dusan Tadic and Nathan Redmond as well.
The Saints have a history of signing the best of players from Celtic in the past – Victor Wanyama and Virgil van Dijk spring to our mind immediately. Both the players had grown leaps and bounds after joining the Saints and Armstrong too could turn out to be a similar success story for the club. With his contract situation yet to be resolved, they need to swoop for him at the earliest.