Southampton completed two productive pieces of transfer business with Chelsea during the summer of 2021, with a couple of hot prospects making their way from Stamford Bridge to St Mary’s. Only one of those arrived on a permanent basis, but plenty of value has been found in both.
Armando Broja and Valentino Livramento could be forming part of Thomas Tuchel’s plans right now – albeit some way down a first-team pecking order – with Blues from west London priced at 6/4 in football betting to taste FA Cup glory this season. They are also fancied in football betting tips today to secure a top-four finish and Champions League qualification.
Sights down on the south coast are being set a little lower, but not by much. Ralph Hasenhuttl continues to oversee a work in progress that has ambitious Saints believing that a push for Europe of their own can be pieced together at some stage.
More shrewd recruitment will be required in order to turn dreams into reality, with Livramento among those to have set the standard when it comes to bolstering collective ranks with one eye on the present, but another fixed firmly on the future.
Having been acquired for just £5 million, a man born in Croydon to a Scottish mother and Portuguese father is making quite the name for himself in Hampshire. After hitting the ground running, one New Year spell on the sidelines aside, his stock has continued to soar.
Stay or go?
Livramento’s obvious qualities are aiding Southampton’s cause at present, with there further potential to be unlocked in his game as he becomes the archetypal modern-day buccaneering full-back, but for how long will that remain the case?
Such ability was never going to sail under the radar for long, with the only surprise being that Chelsea were prepared to sanction a sale last year. They did not really want to, with Tuchel having said: “We had a plan and we wanted, preferred a loan. He saw his future to go and the situation was then better to agree to the sale.”
While Livramento and the Saints board should be applauded for getting a deal over the line that stands to benefit all concerned, reigning continental kings were shrewd enough to insert a buy-back clause in an agreement struck with domestic rivals.
That cannot be triggered any time soon, but it will come into effect once the 2022-23 campaign comes to a close. By then, a highly rated defender already generating plenty of exit talk will have had another 12 months in which to attract admiring glances from afar.
Any shot in Livramento’s direction will be most unwelcome to those of a Southampton persuasion, but caution on the sales front is countered by a desire to see everybody in red and white put in performances that catch the eye and earn plenty of plaudits.
Chelsea are fully aware of what a player who spent over a decade developing in their academy system is capable of and, despite having international-calibre alternatives at their disposal at present, may be tempted to move for a familiar face once he becomes available again.
Southampton will be hoping such questions are never asked of them, but will Livramento leave the Blues longing for more?
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