In today’s market, £18m shouldn’t get you a 20 goals per season Premier League striker. But that’s exactly what it got Southampton.
After an injury-plagued spell at Liverpool, the south coast club took Danny Ings on loan for the 2018/19 campaign and, after a good season made the deal permanent for £18m. The striker followed that up by racking up 22 league goals in the 2019/20 season and has managed seven in 13 this term.
Ings is enjoying his football, he’s back to scoring prolifically, the fans love him – everything’s perfect, right?
But what’s that old saying about ‘all good things’ again? Oh yeah, that’s right.
With Southampton wanting to extend the 18 months he has left on his deal, the striker is stalling on a new contract and, reportedly, has his heart set on moving to a club where he can play Champions League football.
With the form he’s shown since the start of the 2019/20 season, he can’t be short of suitors. So, where could he go?
Now, a move abroad is very unlikely but should not go without consideration.
Since Lucien Favre’s sacking in December, the club have found themselves in the top four again and play a much better, brighter brand of football.
Danny Ings would be a valuable addition to an inexperienced squad, while combining with the likes of Gio Reyna, Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham would guarantee him a hatful of goals at the Signal Iduna Park – surely a move we’d all love to see?
Strangely, Jose Mourinho’s side are the bookies’ second choice for Ings’ next club. While they do look likely to eventually finish in the top four and may need more depth up front for Champions League football, Spurs is probably not Ings’ best bet.
Obviously, he’d be playing second fiddle to Harry Kane and, as we’ve seen previously, that man’s back-up does not get much air time.
Potential minutes aside, Ings is used to a high-press, energetic style of play under Ralph Hasenhuttl, so a move to a Mourinho side could be a mistake.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has had problems with his strikers this season. Sergio Aguero has been out injured, playing just 260 minutes this campaign. In his absence, Gabriel Jesus has played 14 times, scoring just four goals.
The Citizens have fielded the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva up top in an attempt to resolve the issue, but it’s clear that they’re in dire need of an actual striker.
However, having Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku and Erling Haaland as just three of the names linked to the club suggests Guardiola is after a more ‘Galactico’ style addition to his attack.
Manchester United may have landed a solid striker at the start of the campaign in Edinson Cavani, but the Uruguayan is by no means a long-term option. The 33-year old averages a goal every 178 minutes this season, while for main striker Anthony Martial, that figure reaches 309.
While United look good for Champions League qualification at the moment, a prolific goalscorer is crucial at the head of the team for a European and domestic contender. Martial doesn’t look like the man to score 20 a season in the top flight – considering he has just two to his name thus far.
The signing of Danny Ings, although not strictly planning for the long-term future like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has done previously, would guarantee goals for the next few years at least.
Apparently all you need to develop into a top striker is a pre-match diet of port, nicotine and Red Bull. But, then again, Jamie Vardy is one of a kind.
The 34-year old has been reliable for the Foxes and has been with them for every step of their incredible recent journey in the Premier League. Brendan Rodgers’ side currently look like genuine contenders for the title and Champions League football, so another top quality striker could take them to the next level and relieve some of the weight on Vardy – who is approaching his mid-30s.
Ings could be the perfect addition to Rodgers’ squad, although a club with more Champions League pedigree might be the preferred destination for the striker.
Three years, 25 appearances, four goals. Ings’ time at Anfield was not exactly memorable, but the bookies are banking on a return to the reigning Premier League champions.
Diogo Jota’s signing in the summer is proof that a player can break into Liverpool’s front three and make an impact. So, the arrival of Ings would not necessarily mean him being a plan B to Klopp’s preferred trio.
Ings suits Jurgen Klopp’s philosophy and could be the man to rejuvenate Liverpool’s attack. Especially that, given recent form, the combination of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah looks a tired and rather burned-out.
As they say, all good things come to an end.