April 13, 2024

The transaction is apparently at risk of being hijacked by a rival suitor.

Championship promotion chasers Southampton have already signed two players in January: teenager Joe O’Brien Whitmarsh from Cork City in Ireland and Bournemouth midfielder Joe Rothwell on loan this week.

A third appeared probable when the Saints agreed to a temporary agreement for Burnley winger Manuel Benson, which would see them pay a £1 million loan fee and cover the entirety of the player’s salary for the rest of the season. However, there has been a troubling update on that particular agreement, which could be a setback for manager Russell Martin.

Benson’s Southampton transfer is in danger of failing.

According to Football Insider, Benson’s move to Southampton has been halted. It’s unclear why there’s a stumbling block, but the transaction is now in serious risk, despite the two teams shaking hands earlier this week.

Indeed, other clubs interested in Benson have “returned to the race,” perceiving an opportunity to hijack the deal when he appeared to be on his way to St Mary’s.

Benson has already lit up the Championship at Burnley.

Southampton would suffer a significant setback if they lost Benson, especially at this late stage. He joined the Clarets in 2022 from Antwerp, Belgium, and has only appeared in seven Premier League games this season. He may have signed a new four-year contract in August, but given Vincent Kompany’s repeated snubs, he will undoubtedly be evaluating his future at Turf Moor. In that regard, it would be surprising if the current difficulty came from the player’s unwillingness to move away.

Despite Benson’s Championship-winning performance last year, Kompany has preferred Johann Berg Gudmundsson and new recruit Wilson Odobert this season. He scored 12 goals in 33 appearances, which sounds impressive even before considering his limited minutes. On a per-90 basis, he was the league’s greatest playmaker (0.25 projected assists), while ranking second in goals (0.66) and goal contributions (0.66).

 

Southampton launch second bid for Belgian winger Manuel Benson - Get  Football News

 

Benson frequently demonstrated his ability to score in scenarios where the goalie is often the favourite, outperforming his xG by a league-best 7.0. It’s no surprise that Andy Jones, a Burnley reporter for The Athletic, felt he was on a “different level” than his counterparts in the second tier. Jones even went so far as to nickname the goal-scoring winger Burnley’s version of former Bayern Munich star Arjen Robben, demonstrating how much enthusiasm he was generating ahead of the club’s return to the Premier League.

Benson, dubbed a “beautiful footballer” by sports journalist Josh Bunting, could have been the difference between automatic promotion and remaining in the play-offs. Southampton fans will be hoping that the matter can be resolved, but the latest developments do not seem good.

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