Southampton gunning for ex-Arsenal striker who’s his league’s top scorer, as Saints push two Prem rivals aside

Middlesbrough striker Chuba Akpom

Southampton are leading the chase to sign ex-Arsenal striker, Chuba Akpom, who is currently top-scoring in the Championship with Middlesbrough, TEAMtalk understands.

Akpom, 27, spent 16 years on Arsenal’s books between 2002-2018. The former England Under-21 international finally moved on permanently when joining Greek side PAOK in 2018, though moved back to England upon signing for Middlesbrough in 2020.

The £2.75m signing has emerged as a target for several Premier League sides after impressing at the Riverside this season.

The former Gunner has scored 13 goals in just 19 Championship appearances and his form has helped Middlesbrough move into promotion contention after their poor start to the season.

Akpom’s goalscoring exploits are even more impressive upon further review given second in the chart is Coventry City’s Viktor Gyorkes who’s scored one less goal in six more games (12 in 25).

Crystal Palace and Everton have also been linked with Akpom, but Southampton are understood to be the ones pushing to land the attacker during this month’s transfer window.

Southampton are currently rock-bottom of the Premier League, with their failure to bring in a consistent goalscorer in the summer a major factor in their struggles this season.

The Saints have netted just 15 times thus far, a figure that makes them the joint-fourth lowest scorers in the Premier League. They drew another blank in Wednesday’s costly defeat to Nottingham Forest.

Che Adams is the club’s top scorer in the Premier League with just four goals and Southampton boss Nathan Jones knows they need to bring in more attacking armoury if they are to have any chance of staying up.

Akpom’s current deal expires this summer, though Boro have an option to extend it for a further 12 months.

Boro are reluctant to lose their top scorer as they battle to win promotion back to the Premier League. Indeed, they currently reside inside the play-off places having experienced a resurgence since Michael Carrick took charge.

However, Southampton are ready to test their resolve to hang onto him with an offer.

In the event Southampton do land Akpon, a ready-made replacement at the Riverside could come in the form of Aston Villa’s Cameron Archer.

TEAMtalk understands Archer, 21, is poised to join Middlesbrough on a six-month loan.

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