Saints target Championship Player of the Year Patrick Bamford
Southampton (odds-on at 5/6 for a top six Premier League finish) are reportedly tracking young forward Patrick Bamford ahead of a possible summer move.
The 21-year-old is currently on Chelsea’s books, but is yet to feature for the Blues, although has highly impressed when sent out on loan.
This season in particular has arguably been Bamford’s best, as the Lincolnshire-born attacker has netted 17 times in 38 Championship matches for promotion-chasing Middlesbrough. He also got the opener in the northeast side’s famous FA Cup win over Manchester City.
As a result of his impressive form, Boro (7/4 to go up) still have a chance to reach the Premier League automatically, with just one fixture to go, as they sit in third place in the table.
Bamford’s performances have not only attracted Southampton, as he was also recently awarded the Championship Player of the Year prize.
Due to the forward’s obvious talent, it seems that Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho wants to keep hold of Bamford, who was signed from Nottingham Forest in 2012, but would be willing to send him out on loan for another season.
The Saints are said to be looking for more options up front this summer, and the England Under-21 international would certainly represent a cheap option for Ronald Koeman.
Dutchman Koeman currently has the likes of Graziano Pelle, Saido Mane, Shane Long and Jay Rodriquez as forward options, though.
If Bamford were to make a move to Southampton or another side in their division, he would be making the step up to the Premier League for the first time.
Playing in the promised land could also open new opportunities for the youngster, such as international recognition.
The likes of QPR’s Charlie Austin and Burnley’s Danny Ings have highly impressed since moving up with their clubs from the Championship, and are on the brink of Three Lions call-ups. England have an extra incentive to get Bamford to commit too, as he is also eligible to represent Republic of Ireland, who he has played for at youth level.