Southampton have reportedly jumped to the head of the queue for Blackburn Rovers star Adam Armstrong and are set to launch a bid for the prolific striker.
The 24-year-old has been linked with a number of his clubs following a stellar showing for the Ewood Park outfit. The former England Under-21 ace bagged 28 Championship goals from 40 appearances in 2020-2021. However, he could not help Rovers finish higher than 15th in the second-tier standings and has been tipped for a summer exit.
Armstrong began his career with hometown club Newcastle United. Having come up through the Magpies youth ranks, he made his senior debut in 2014.
However, things did not work out and he made just 21 appearances in all competitions before leaving for Rovers in 2018. He spent time on loan with Coventry City, Barnsley and Bolton Wanderers before arriving on loan at Ewood in January 2018.
Nine league goals from 21 outings convinced club officials to hand him a permanent deal. And the north-east native has gone on to notch 64 goals from 160 appearances.
His first full season saw a return of just nine goals but he managed 17 in 2019-20. However, nobody would have expected such a stunning return in the campaign just finished.
Unsurprisingly, many clubs have been monitoring his situation and it was thought that West Ham United were favourites. Fulham, Everton and Brighton have also been mentioned as potential suitors.
And Newcastle are also thought to hold an interest in re-signing the forward. However, The Express are reporting that Southampton are set to strike first and will offer £15m for the player.
Newcastle could hold aces in Armstrong chase
It is thought that Blackburn value their star striker at around £20m. But it has been reported that they are prepared to accept less and Saints’ offer is not too far off the mark.
It remains to be seen if other clubs put in rival bids but the Magpies have an advantage. They inserted a 40 per cent sell-on clause into the deal which saw him move to the north west three years ago.
But that would not take effect if they are the club that sign the marksman. Much will depend on Armstrong himself and whether he feels the pull of Tyneside or is happy to feature elsewhere.
Ralph Hasenhuttl is known to want a strike in the off-season with doubts over the future of Danny Ings. West Ham’s interest also seems genuine as David Moyes is still seeking Sebastien Haller’s long-term replacement.