Danny Ings has been a revelation since joining boyhood club Southampton from Liverpool, but it seems like his time on the south coast may soon be coming to an end.
The three-time England cap is into the final year of his deal at St Mary’s, and widespread reports this week claim that he has rejected a new contract, with a view to forcing a move to one of the Premier League’s best and brightest.
To be fair, you can hardly blame him. At 28, Ings knows this may well be his final chance to earn a big transfer, and having netted 46 goals in 100 appearances since joining the Saints, his stock is high. So why not try your luck?
We’ve taken a look at a number of clubs who have been linked – and one or two more who could make sense – and ranked his options on their viability.
If Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud leave Stamford Bridge this summer, you could see it. But it’s hard to imagine Thomas Tuchel prioritising a new striker – especially one at the peak of his powers – while one of those two is still available to play second fiddle to Timo Werner.
United are in the market for a new striker, but they’re not going to sign one just for the sake of it – especially not with Edinson Cavani tied down for next season.
Erling Haaland and Harry Kane are the two names most commonly linked and either of those would lift the standard at Old Trafford up a level. Would Ings have that sort of impact? It’s unlikely.
Makes a lot of sense, but Rodrigo Moreno’s resurgence at the tail end of last season means Marcelo Bielsa now has two hotshot strikers to play with.
A third seems like a bit of a luxury.
These links made hardly any sense to begin with, but Sergio Aguero’s departure does leave a space in the City squad for an experienced goalscorer.
It’s a similar problem to United, really – Ings isn’t really on the level of Haaland or the other forwards City have been linked with – but he’s not a bad backup plan if all else fails.
It’s better than having to play Kevin De Bruyne out of position for half the season, anyway. Probably.
Mikel Arteta needs players he can rely on as he leads Arsenal through a period of transition, and who is more reliable than Danny Ings?
He might be the perfect replacement for the likes of Alexandre Lacazette if he leaves the Gunners this summer, while from Ings’ perspective, it’s enough of a step up from Southampton that he would have to be tempted if the offer arrived.
West Ham are crying out for a genuine alternative to Michail Antonio, and why a younger striker may make sense, Ings would be the type of marquee signing that could kick things up a gear at the London Stadium.
The lure of European football could also tempt Ings to the capital, and he would fill the void of experience that appears has currently been left behind by the end of Jesse Lingard’s loan.
There’s nothing out there yet to suggest it is actually on the agenda, granted, it just makes sense.
Time to strike while the iron is hot…I’ll get my coat.
Tottenham are widely believed to be one of the clubs monitoring Ings, and it doesn’t take a master of deduction to figure out why. Harry Kane, despite his recent flirting with new managing director Fabio Paratici, still wants to leave and they will need to move fast for a new striker if he does.
Ings isn’t the replacement Spurs fans would want, but he could be signed for a small fraction of the fee attained for Kane, leaving plenty of room in the budget for further additions.
More importantly, though, he’s a sure thing provided he can stay fit – and there aren’t very many of those available in today’s market.
If signed alongside a younger striker with the potential to become their long-term No 9, Ings would make a lot of sense.