Why Grady Diangana could be a smashing signing for Southampton
Leicester City and Crystal Palace are also in the race to sign the 22-year-old, who impressed during his loan spell at West Brom in the EFL Championship last season. (Sunday People h/t Leicestershire Live)
Hammers boss David Moyes wants Diangana to play a key role in the Premier League next season, but there is a feeling that the East Londoners could be tempted into selling their academy prospect if an offer of around £15million is put on the table.
Born in DR Congo, Diangana moved to the United Kingdom at the age of four and joined West Ham’s youth set-up back in 2010. Having impressed for the U-23s in the Premier League 2, the left-footed winger broke into the first-team picture at the London Stadium under Manuel Pellegrini during the 2018-19 season.
Diangana scored twice in 21 appearances for the Hammers across all competitions in the 2018-19 season, showing glimpses of his massive potential. That paved the way for a loan move to West Brom last summer and the England U-21 international went on to play a key role in the Baggies’ promotion-winning campaign.
Diangana plundered 8 goals and 7 assists in 30 Championship outings for Slaven Bilic’s brigade and his fruitful loan spell in the second-tier seems to have alerted a number of top-flight clubs to his serious potential.
Southampton need a new winger
Southampton romped home to an 11th place finish in the 2019-20 Premier League season, thanks in large proportion to Danny Ings’ 22-goal haul that saw him miss out on the PL Golden Boot to Jamie Vardy by the narrowest of margins.
The likes of Nathan Redmond (4 goals, 4 assists), Stuart Armstrong (5 goals, 3 assists) and James Ward-Prowse (5 goals, 3 assists) were among the other major goal contributors for the Saints. The likes of Che Adams, Moussa Djenepo, Michael Obafemi and Shane Long occasionally chipped in with some quality output too.
Considering that Ings scored 22 out of Southampton’s overall tally of 51 goals in the PL this past season, manager Ralph Hasenhuttl needs to find a way to reduce the burden on the former Liverpool hitman next season.
The Saints need more depth and quality down the flanks. Redmond was one of the club’s top performers last season. Armstrong, despite not being a specialist winger by trade, did exceptionally well down the right wing.
Djenepo showed flashes of his brilliance over the course of an injury-stricken debut season in the Premier League and is could play a more prominent role in the upcoming campaign. However, adding another winger to the squad could still be a smart idea, given that the Saints will be expected to challenge for bigger things after finishing 11th this past season.
Why Diangana could be the answer
Southampton have looked to scour the market for quality young talents under the stewardship of Hasenhuttl, whose proficiency in nurturing up and coming prospects has been well-documented over the years.
At 22, Diangana ticks a lot of boxes at St. Mary’s. Not only does he have a lot of room for improvement in the years to come, but the West Ham starlet’s left-footed nature as a winger would definitely offer something different to Southampton’s attack (Ings, Djenepo, Obafemi, Armstrong, and Redmond are all right-footed players).
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Add to that his versatility to play out wide on either side of the attack and also through the centre as an attacking midfielder. Diangana’s arrival could hand a good boost to Hasenhuttl’s squad dynamics.
Grady Diangana was quite sensational in the Championship last season after showing flashes of his potential in the 2018-19 Premier League.
He looks more than capable of making an impact in the top-flight next season. With that in mind, a modest £15million outlay could well work wonders for Southampton’s long-term plans moving forward under Hasenhuttl.