The Sun revealed late last month that the 25-year-old was a target for the Hornets and Boro as they look to reinvent their frontlines in pursuit of promotion in 2022/23.
Football Insider provided the update this morning that an outgoing loan is still the preferred option from the Saints’ perspective.
Armstrong netted 28 league goals in his last campaign in the Championship, for Blackburn Rovers in 2020/21, but would take a move to another Premier League club if possible this summer, over dropping down a division.
However, with the Saints conscious not to strengthen a direct rival, after a very concerning final third to last season, the temporary second tier move would make more sense for both parties, with regular playing time also more likely for Armstrong.
The Newcastle United academy graduate does fit the mold of a Chris Wilder striker, and there is certainly room for attacking reinforcements on Teesside this summer.
Rob Edwards is expected to also deploy a 3-5-2 system at Watford this upcoming season, and there is a chance that parachute payments could allow the Hornets to pay a more sizeable portion of Armstrong’s wages, as the 25-year-old approaches an important decision.
Quiz: 20 statements about former Middlesbrough players – Are they true or false?
Two goals in 17 league starts last term for the Saints was clearly not enough for Armstrong to convince Ralph Hasenhuttl that he should be at the forefront of his first team plans heading into 2022/23, and Southampton are on the look-out for an alternative forward option, as per the piece by Football Insider.
Bringing Armstrong in would certainly give Watford or Boro a leg-up on the other, as two clubs who are among the favourites to compete for automatic promotion this season.
Wilder and Middlesbrough represents a move closer to home for Armstrong, where Watford potentially the more secure shot at promotion, after bouncing back immediately to the top-flight in 2020/21.