Southampton have confirmed that Danny Ings has turned down a new four year contract offer that would have made him the clubs highest paid player. Ings has decided he wants to test himself once again at a higher level after leaving Liverpool for the south coast side back in 2018.
Ings has been a fan favourite and shown on a consistent basis his quality which even led to an international call-up with the Three Lions– with injuries keeping him out of contention for Euro 2020. He has 42 Premier League goals in three seasons with the Saints, 2019/20 being his most productive; bagging 22 in 38 appearances.
Injuries have always been a concern for Ings, and what led to his inability to fight for a place in the Liverpool side after being signed for around £7.5 million from Burnley in 2015. He has started to show he is able to look after himself well, but Hassenhutl has always had to ensure that he is not overworking his key centre forward, especially with quick turnarounds of fixtures. Ings would be rested whenever possible to ensure they would not aggravate any previous injuries.
His high work rate and ability to press and hurry defender out of possession partnered with strong composure in front of goal will mean he won’t be without admirers in the Premier League.
One side looking to progress and build a squad with strong depth are the Villains. Having finished 11th last season, Dean Smith and his side are putting plans together to challenge for European qualification next term.
With the new additions of Emi Buendia from Norwich and Ashley Young on a free already agreed, they would also be keen to add depth to a centre forward line currently led by Ollie Watkins. Watkins was a big money arrival from Brentford last term and had a successful debut season in the Premier League- scoring 14 goals in 37 appearances.
Brazilian striker Wesley is set to return for the new season, but struggled for form on arrival before a serious injury kept him out since January 2020. Smith will have to decide if he sees Wesley becoming a strong Premier League level striker or if it is time to replace him with a proven player like Ings for Aston Villa.
David Moyes will take West Ham into the Europa League this season and centre forward is a position he is very likely to be looking at recruiting.
Michail Antonio has been superb for the Hammers, though since the sale of Sebastian Haller, David Moyes needs to add depth. Antonio himself is also no stranger to injury concerns and the Scottish gaffer has had to manage his playing time to ensure no damage is done that would keep him on the sidelines longer term.
West Ham have been linked with Tammy Abraham, but a rumoured £40 million price tag has cooled interest from the East London side. With Ings’s contract at Southampton expiring next summer, he could be available at around half the rumoured price of Abraham.
After a strong history of striker depth in the Spurs side, the past few years have seen a different story. Since Harry Kane’s emergence as a world class centre forward and undisputed first choice at Tottenham, there has been limited depth and no solid back up for some time now.
Heung-Min Son and Gareth Bale last season were used alongside Kane and could also fill in when the England captain was unavailable. The loan signing of Carlos Vinicius was unsuccessful and new boss Nuno Espirito Santo now arrives with rumours of Kane requesting to leave- shaking the foundations of the club.
Even if Kane does stay, Spurs will be keen to add more depth and have a serious centre forward to rotate with Kane who, at times, may be being overplayed, especially with recent injury concerns, due to the lack of options as cover.
Eyes on Top Four
While these sides may offer Ings more guaranteed time, his ability and confidence may mean he holds out longer for interest from the top sides. Both halves of Manchester will be looking at reinforcing their centre forward lines, as well as Chelsea, and rumours of interest from these sides have begun to circulate.
Ings will know he can challenge for time at these clubs, especially with their lack of depth and a number of their forward players preferring to play deeper or wider- like Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood at Man Utd, Jesus and Ferran Torres at Man City, and Timo Werner and Kai Havertz at Chelsea.
Having lost Sergio Aguero to Barcelona, Pep Guardiola now just has Gabriel Jesus as his most natural centre forward. His side have been linked with a big money move for Harry Kane, but Ings may be a useful addition at a low price to add depth to a squad with a busy schedule every year.
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer also has decisions to make regarding his front line. Greenwood has at times been moved more central and Edison Cavani will continue with the Red Devils for another season. With a number of new signings seeming imminent, a relatively cheap centre forward of Ings quality could too be a useful addition to Solksjaer’s side, certainly providing intensity to the front line.
Southampton wont panic over trying to find a buyer, they know Ings will continue at a high level of consistency next season should no deal be found over the summer. For a side who fought against relegation last season and have a number of other areas to attend to, they may be happy to lose him on a free next season and have a more time to find his replacement.
Whatever happens for Ings this summer, he will be back to fighting to prove his value to Gareth Southgate next season and trying to get his place back in the England side with Qatar 2022 in his sights.
If you liked this Premier League article, check out my twitter for much more @MikeRice76