Southampton scouted AZ Alkmaar right-winger Calvin Stengs in his side’s 2-2 Europa League draw with Partizan Belgrade on Thursday. According to reports in Serbia, Saints sent a scout to Stadion Partizana for the opening Group L clash in which Stengs scored AZ’s opening goal after 12 minutes.
It was a simple tap-in on the counter-attack as the hosts were caught cold by the pace and exceptional link-up play of AZ’s talented front three.
Stengs later repaid the favour by setting up Myron Boadu for his side’s equaliser as the ten-men of AZ grabbed a creditable draw.
Saints’ representative will have been more impressed with his assist than his easy goal as Stengs picked the ball up in the centre circle, turned, then clipped a beautifully-weighted pass behind three Partizan defenders for Boadu to run through on goal and convert.
The Netherlands Under-21 international is likely to earn his first senior international cap before too long and any more performances like Thursday’s in the Europa League, particularly against group rival Manchester United, will see his price skyrocket.
And there appears to be some good news for any potential buyers in the January transfer window as AZ have just agreed a deal to sign another talented young right-winger, who looks like an ideal replacement.
AZ’s acquisition of talented Norwegian attacker Hakon Evjen from Bodo/Glimt suggests the Dutch club are aware they cannot hold on to Stengs for too much longer.
Southampton are not short of wingers at the moment with Moussa Djenepo, Sofiane Boufal and Nathan Redmond on the books.
But Djenepo and Boufal operate on the left, while Ralph Hasenhuttl has opted to utilise Redmond through the middle – starting the England international alongside Che Adams for Friday night’s 3-1 home defeat to Bournemouth.
James Ward-Prowse has played on the right this season, but he lacks pace and the ability to go past a man, which could point to a pacy, natural right-winger being on Saints’ wanted list for the upcoming transfer window.