17 July 2024

All the transfer links involving Southampton from March through to June

Shea Charles, a high-profile acquisition, will be crucial in helping Southampton rejoin the Premier League right away after an 11-year sabbatical.
Despite lacking club-level experience, Charles—a graduate of the Manchester City academy—has excelled with his efforts for Northern Ireland.
At Southampton, Charles has to fight for playing time, but it’s important for the manager to give him an opportunity to flourish and advance from a star at the young level to the senior stage. Alternately, Flynn Downes and I may form a midfield combination to provide the squad more tactical options.

Southampton have eyes on an instant return to the Premier League – and they should call on their big money signing Shea Charles to help them do so.

The Saints have already had a taste of the pandemonium that is the Championship just five games into the season.

Three 2-1 victories against Sheffield Wednesday, Plymouth Argyle and Queens Park Rangers put Russell Martin’s side in good stead as they become reacquainted with the second tier after an 11-year absence.

A 5-0 hammering at the hands of Sunderland, however, served up a stark reminder of the unpredictable nature of the division with no three points inevitable.

Finding themselves just outside the play-offs in seventh place, the international break has presented the Southampton boss an opportunity to reflect on their opening run of performances and assess where to improve – and perhaps which personnel to bring into the fold.

A chance to impress is something that young Northern Ireland international Shea Charles has grabbed with both hands, with the 19-year-old’s recent performances putting his name in the headlines.

Who is Shea Charles?

The Manchester City academy graduate became the latest in a growing list of talent to arrive at St Mary’s straight from the treble winners, including Romeo Lavia, Samuel Edozie and Juan Larios.

The versatile player was instrumental in Man City’s Premier League 2 success, a core member in the back-to-back title campaigns, playing 49 times across both seasons despite being just 18-years-old.

Rewarded with a debut on the final game of last season against Brentford, Charles made the permanent switch away from his boyhood club with a move to the south coast this summer. A reported £10.5 million initial fee, rising to £15 million, it highlights the potential of the young star with an opportunity to impress at senior level.

Charles, however, will be eager to demonstrate his ability sooner rather than later, particularly after more promising showings with the national team.

How has he performed for Northern Ireland?

Noting his lack of experience at club level, Michael O’Neill has shown no concern when selecting him for the senior national team.

Charles picked up his tenth cap in the 1-0 defeat to Kazakhstan last week, a composed, standout figure at the base of the Northern Ireland midfield despite falling to defeat.

His previous performance against Slovenia, however, received plenty of praise from his compatriots and national team heroes despite being on the losing side of a 4-2 affair.

Speaking to Viaplay, former Manchester United winger and Northern Ireland star Keith Gillespie said: “He makes good decisions and he makes the game look simple at times. He’s got a lot of class about him as well – he works hard, he makes good passes, he’s got a good passing range.

“He’s been exceptional. At his age he would remind you of a Steven Davis because you can see he can influence games.

“He’s the sort of player we need to be building the side around and I’m sure we will do for many years to come.”

What competition does Charles face at Southampton?

Noting his lack of experience at club level, Michael O’Neill has shown no concern when selecting him for the senior national team.

Charles picked up his tenth cap in the 1-0 defeat to Kazakhstan last week, a composed, standout figure at the base of the Northern Ireland midfield despite falling to defeat.

His previous performance against Slovenia, however, received plenty of praise from his compatriots and national team heroes despite being on the losing side of a 4-2 affair.

Speaking to Viaplay, former Manchester United winger and Northern Ireland star Keith Gillespie said: “He makes good decisions and he makes the game look simple at times. He’s got a lot of class about him as well – he works hard, he makes good passes, he’s got a good passing range.

“He’s been exceptional. At his age he would remind you of a Steven Davis because you can see he can influence games.

“He’s the sort of player we need to be building the side around and I’m sure we will do for many years to come.”

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