Southampton have been through the trenches over the past year, slipping slowly but surely from their once steady position in the Premier League and not facing a desperate fight to avoid relegation, with the business end of the campaign looking ominous indeed.

Indeed, the outfit languish at the nadir of their current stay in the top-flight, 19th in the division after 25 matches, albeit with two victories from the past three matches.

Current boss Ruben Selles is the third to take to the Southampton dugout this season alone, with Nathan Jones receiving the boot after losing seven of his eight Premier League matches in charge.

That spell, of course, came after long-term and respected boss Ralph Hasenhuttl was dismissed from his duties following a discernible downward trend and boiling temperatures between the Austrian and the owners, Sport Republic – who assumed control one year ago.

With the turbulence that Saints is beset with threatening to spiral the club from their position among the top outfits in the country, a rueful gaze will undoubtedly be cast back to recent misfortunes, with one failed deal on the transfer front exuding a potent sense of pathos.

Did Southampton nearly sign Gakpo?

Cody Gakpo was of interest to Southampton last summer, with The Telegraph reporting that the outfit had two summer bids rejected for the phenom, the second totalling roughly £21.5m.

It’s fair to say Gakpo is having something of a prolific season for club and country.

The 23-year-old has scored four goals from 12 outings for Liverpool, with a remarkable return of 13 strikes and 17 assists for PSV Eindhoven in the first half of the term, preceding his £35m-£45m transfer to Anfield.

He has started to emerge as a fierce offensive force, with Times journalist Hamzah Khalique-Loonat even lauding him as tall, fleet-footed and dangerous.

As per FBref, Gakpo ranks among the best 9% of forwards in Europe’s top five leagues for goals and the top 7% for assists per 90, illustrating a sharpness to his cutting edge that has been unforeseen in Southampton for some time, and it could have even saved Hasenhuttl’s job.

With St. Mary’s Stadium falling quickly into the lower third of the Premier League, Hasenhuttl’s reign seemed to be drawing to an inevitable close, especially given the relationship between the manager and owners was wearing thin after a short time together.

Given the dynamic capabilities of Gakpo, and the impact he could have made on the collective efforts of the team’s attack, it is a miserable thought for Southampton fans when mulling over what could have been.

Considering Gakpo’s performances in the Netherlands and his emphatic introduction to the global stage with his country at the World Cup, the powers that be at Saints must be veritably kicking themselves for blundering so badly.

And with the machine now starting to churn at Liverpool, the south coast is offered a poignant reminder of what could have been.


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