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President says Southampton are demanding £13m for a player they ‘want to sell’

No one could accuse Southampton of failing to put their money where their mouth was when attempting to kick-start a great escape from the Premier League’s relegation zone in January 2023.

But the problem, as it turned out, was that the money they spent really didn’t match up to what they ended up with.

Namely, relegation, and a host of misfit players who arrived for exaggerated fees and massively underdelivered.

Mislav Orsic, just one top-flight appearance to show for his £8 million price-tag, goes down as one of the more pointless signings in Southampton’s modern day history. The Croatian winger, after all, played as many Premier League games in red-and-white as the infamous Ali Dia did.

James Bree made a bigger impact than Orsic, certainly. But he too was powerless to prevent the inevitable demotion. Kamaldeen Sulemana arrived amid comparisons with Neymar that would never be justified.

And then there is Paul Onuachu; the £18 million striker who was supposed to fire The Saints to safety.

Paul Onuachu (R) of Trabzonspor in action during the Turkish Super Lig postponed week 16 football match between Trabzonspor and Yilport Samsunspor ...
Photo by Hakan Burak Altunoz/Anadolu via Getty Images

Southampton ‘want to sell’ striker Paul Onuachu

A year-and-a-half on, a forward so prolific in Belgian football with KRC Genk is still awaiting his first Southampton goal, having spent the entirety of the current campaign on loan at Trabzonspor.

With a second chance at St Mary’s looking unlikely to say the least, perhaps the best thing that can come out of Onuachu’s transfer is that the 29-year-old Nigerian can help Southampton recoup most of that eye-watering outlay.

Trabzonspor president Ertugrul Dogan is keen to strike a permanent deal for the 6ft 7ins targetman. Whether the Super Lig outfit can afford the near-£13 million fee Southampton are looking for, however, only time will tell.

It seems unlikely at this stage though, the president admitting last week that a permanent deal would be a little on the expensive side.

“They want 15 million euros for Onuachu,” Dogan informs A Spor, while indicating that deals for Rangers duo John Lundstram and Borna Barisic are close to completion.

“(Southampton) are not interested in a loan.”

Trabzonspor hope to strike long-term deal

Onuachu, reunited with Orsic in Turkey, has now scored 15 goals in 23 games for Trabzonspor. Oddly enough, he is the second former Premier League benchwarmer who arrived on the banks of the Black Sea before taking Turkish football by storm.

Alexander Sorloth, Crystal Palace’s one-time forgotten man, hit the net a stunning 33 times during his own loan spell at Trabzonspor.

“We are in talks with Paul Onuachu’s club,” Dogan told Sporx before Russell Martin’s side were held to a 0-0 draw by West Brom in the first-leg of their Championship play-off semi-final.

“(Southampton) want to sell him for a transfer fee. He is a player they bought at a very serious cost.”

The Saints, who could lose Che Adams on a free transfer this summer amid links with Wolves, will host West Brom on the South Coast on Friday. Win, and a place at Wembley to take on Leeds United or Norwich City will be theirs.

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