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Southampton Opinion: Saints should sign Timothe Nkada for free

According to claims from French source Foot Mercato, Southampton are interested in signing Rennes starlet Timothe Nkada in the summer.

The 19-year-old French youth international is yet to make a senior competitive appearance for Rennes in Ligue 1 but he has attracted interest from the Saints, owing to his prolific form for the reserve side. Nkada has scored 11 goals from 16 appearances for Rennes’ ‘B’ team, including 7 since the turn of the year.

Foot Mercato has pointed out that Nkada is out of contract in the summer and talks over a new deal at Rennes have stalled, which would allow Southampton to snap him up for free at the end of the season.

In recent times, Southampton have shown an inclination to bring in talented youngsters from France and develop them in their own academy, as evident from the acquisition of Yan Valery and Enzo Robise.

And Timothe Nkada could prove to be yet another exciting proposition for a side that have a reputation of unearthing plenty of rough diamonds over the years.

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The Saints are probably not looking at Nkada with a view to the youngster playing a key role in the first-team next season. Yet to make his senior bow in France, Southampton would be content to let the 19-year-old hone his skills by playing for the club’s youth and reserve sides.

Someone by the name of Yan Valery, who also joined Southampton from the youth ranks at Rennes a couple of years back, has enjoyed a breakthrough season at St. Mary’s under Ralph Hasenhuttl and there is every possibility that more youngsters can be promoted to the first-team from the academy.

Southampton have had little luck in the transfer market in recent years, with big-money signings like Sofiane Boufal, Guido Carrillo and Mohamed Elyounoussi all turning out to be flops. Hence, the Saints should get back to their roots, which has always been working in detail with talented young players and bringing them up to the first team.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s arrival has opened the pathway for youngsters to make their mark, with the likes of Valery and Michael Obafemi playing a more significant role.

While Nkada can’t be looked upon as a first-team player at St.Mary’s just yet, opportunities can present themselves, particularly with ageing strikers like Charlie Austin and Shane Long in the ranks.

Former RB Leipzig Hasenhuttl has always shown a preference towards the younger players and the Austrian hasn’t hesitated to get rid of deadwood at Southampton, offloading the likes of Manolo Gabbiadini, Steven Davis and Wesley Hoedt.

He is someone who shows a lot of faith in young talents and is arguably the right man to take the Saints forward.

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Nkada is a versatile striker who is capable of playing as a centre-forward and also out wide on the flanks. Given that Southampton are not too well-stocked in the attack, the Frenchman might get an opportunity to express himself if he manages to impress at the youth and reserve level.

Hence, the Premier League fans might get a glimpse of Nkada as a breakout star in the years to come should a move to St. Mary’s materializes for the youngster in the summer.


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