Fulham reportedly have offered Southampton £8m for Matt Targett after seeing their initial offer of £5m get rejected. The Lillywhites are looking to bolster the club ranks following their promotion to the Premier League and the Saints fullback is at the very top of their summer shortlist. The 22-year-old spent the previous season on loan with the Cottagers and saw them through to a successful playoff battle.
Slavisa Jokanovic has already lost three of his starting XI players in Ryan Fredericks, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Targett himself. While Fredericks have left on a free transfer to West Ham United, bringing back the latter duo permanently is a pressing matter for the Serbian boss.
Targett could not really break into the Southampton first team squad under Mauricio Pellegrino and had to be loaned out for his own good. The Saints have a highly rated starter in Ryan Bertrand and youngster Sam McQueen as a backup. Instead, Targett managed to find a lucrative escape in the English capital and got to resume his development into a quality professional.
He arrived in January and ended the 2017/18 campaign with 18 Championship appearances, a goal and two assists to his name. His Fulham introduction allowed Ryan Sessegnon to move forward into a more attacking position and make full use of his remarkable footballing abilities. Targett proved himself to be effective at the back while also surging ahead to help in the attack. He played a crucial part in seeing the club go through five months without registering a defeat.
The 22-year-old is a product of the highly rated Southampton youth academy, having joined the side when he was just 8. He made his senior team debut against Millwall in the Carabao Cup second-round game. With 56 appearances for the club’s U23 side, Targett did manage to carve out a sporadic role behind Bertrand to rack up 42 appearances for the senior squad.
Just last summer he signed a new five-year contract but could not really find minutes on the pitch as the Saints struggle to put a winning run together. Targett has 24 caps for England at various youth levels and does have the potential to break out in the Premier League if he makes the switch to Fulham.
The Cottagers have more than a decent shot at signing the left-back this very summer with their refurbished bid. Now it is up to Mark Hughes to either keep him on for another season or to reinvest the transfer money in more necessary additions.