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In Focus: Ings not looking good for Saints after Danny's exit
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Tom Bodell

Replacing Danny Ings is virtually impossible — so Southampton have signed two strikers to fill the void.

Ings, 29, was the top scorer for the Saints in each of the last two seasons but departed for Aston Villa in a £30million deal.

Succeeding the England international are £15m Blackburn hotshot Adam Armstrong and Chelsea youngster Armando Broja, who joins on loan.

Ahead of their season opener against Everton, we assess whether the duo can replace the former Liverpool man's goals.

Oh, Danny boy!

Scoring 12 times in 29 Premier League appearances for Southampton last season, Ings’ performances proved to be a bright spot in a season marred by a late, downward spiral.

Over the last two campaigns, the England international netted 0.61 goals per 90 minutes for the Saints — a remarkable record given the circumstances.

His success last season can be measured by his strong shooting statistics.

Attempting 2.35 shots per 90 minutes, Ings hit the target with just 0.99, meaning he had to work hard for his goals.

Danny Ings scored 41 Premier League goals for Southampton
Danny Ings scored 41 Premier League goals for Southampton

But a shot accuracy of 43.6% was impressive and suggests he did well to pick his moments to pull the trigger. 

And 10 open-play goals from a non-penalty expected goals total of 6.7 further highlight his finishing quality.

Free-scoring Armstrong

Ings’ direct replacement is Armstrong, 24, who enjoyed a sensational 2020-21 season with Blackburn in the Championship.

In 40 league appearances, the pacey forward struck 28 times to finish as the division’s second-highest scorer behind Brentford’s Ivan Toney (31).

Impressively, Armstrong bagged seven goals in his last three Championship matches.

Adam Armstrong scored 28 Championship goals for Blackburn last term against an expected goals tally of 27.74
Adam Armstrong scored 28 Championship goals for Blackburn last term against an expected goals tally of 27.74

That scintillating form alerted a number of Premier League clubs to the former Newcastle attacker but Southampton pounced first.

Fast and direct with the ball at his feet, Armstrong is a volume shooter — attempting 4.84 shots per 90 minutes last season.

Stylistically, though, he resembles Ings. Quick, nimble and dangerous on the shoulder of the last defender, he could be a good successor.

The unknown quantity

Chelsea striker Broja, 19, has been signed on loan to help offset the departure of Ings.

A largely unknown quantity for English football fans, the 6ft 3in Albania forward has limited first-team experience.

Broja spent the 2020-21 season on loan at Eredivisie side Vitesse, scoring 10 times in 30 appearances.

The targetman has also played six times for Albania, including against England in a World Cup qualifier earlier this year.

Speaking about Southampton’s new addition, boss Ralph Hasenhuttl said: "Armando is a very talented player who we were impressed by last season.

"He is young but he comes now with a full season of experience in senior football with a good team and he brings a lot of qualities that can help us."

Hasenhuttl’s set-up

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl typically lined up with two strikers last season
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl typically lined up with two strikers last season

Armstrong and Broja may be paired together from the off by Hasenhuttl in his preferred 4-4-2 system.

The little and large partnership could prove fruitful although the pair’s previous lack of top-flight experience is concerning.

Broja had 1.93 shots on target per game last season but will have to find a way to cope with less service at St Mary’s.

Southampton were last in the Premier League for completed crosses (2.76) and long passes (19.55), which does not indicate they will play to the Chelsea loanee’s physical strengths.

Is it enough?

The lack of Premier League striking pedigree is concerning.

Veteran Shane Long failed to score last season before being loaned to Bournemouth in January and has never been prolific on the South Coast.

Meanwhile, youngster Michael Obafemi, 21, made just four substitute appearances in the league.

The Republic of Ireland international had been linked with a move to Ewood Park as part of the deal for Armstrong and could still join Rovers.

As a result, do not be surprised to see the Saints dip back into the transfer market for more attacking reinforcements.

Southampton would have been 15 points worse off without Ings’ 12 goals last term, which contributed to six of their 12 league wins.

Now they are without their talisman, the Saints could be marching into the Championship.


SouthamptonPremier LeagueDanny IngsArmando BrojaAdam Armstrong
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