One player who has burst onto the scene in the EFL this season is versatile Gillingham midfielder Thomas O’Connor.
The 20-year-old moved to Priestfield on loan from Southampton in the summert transfer window and has been turning heads with some impressive early performances.
Football League World exclusively reported last week that a host of Championship sides were now looking to bring him in on a permanent basis.
But would selling him be the right move from the Saints?
Here are TWO pros and TWO cons to the possible decision…
It is clearly the right thing to do from the player’s perspective.
He will want to playing first-team football and that is something that is very unlikely to happen at St. Mary’s.
Keeping him at the club when he would rather be elsewhere playing regular football is not the right thing for Southampton to do and it would only effect the rest of the squad as well.
Strength in depth
Central midfield is definitely one of the club’s stronger areas.
James Ward-Prowse, Emile Hojberg and Oriol Romeu are all comfortably of Premier League class whilst Stuart Armstrong remains a useful option from the bench.
So, in all honesty, they don’t need O’Connor, and letting him go would free up some space in the squad and on the wage bill.
Selling him would not send the best message to those other players in the youth sides.
They will all have ambitions of going on to play for Southampton so seeing those above them being shipped out down the leagues will only have a negative effect on them.
It may be worth the club thinking a bit more long-term with regards what they do with O’Connor.
Southampton are famous for their youth academy and bringing through some outstanding talent.
You only have to look at Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Ward-Prowse in recent seasons to see that it is one of their biggest strengths.
Selling O’Connor could therefore be seen as a defeatist attitude and an abandoning of this method that has stood the club in such good stead for so long.