Southampton and Ralph Hasenhüttl have added to their attacking armoury ahead of the 2019/20 Premier League season with the signing of Che Adams (£6.0m) from Birmingham City for a reported £15m fee.
Adams, 22, scored 38 goals in 123 appearances across three seasons at St Andrew’s and was named in the Championship Team of the Season for 2018/19.
The Englishman will aim to provide additional goalscoring impetus to a Southampton side who scored just 1.18 goals per game in 2018/19, ranking 15th in the goals scored table.
Adams’ arrival at St Mary’s comes alongside the signing of Moussa Djenepo (£5.5m) from Standard Liege as well as the permanent capture of Danny Ings (£6.0m) from Liverpool, as the Saints bid to improve on their attacking options and mount a challenge for a top ten finish in Hasenhüttl’s first full season in charge on the south coast.
Southampton forwards have rarely proved to be reliable sources of FPL points in the last two seasons, with midfielders Nathan Redmond (£6.5m) and James Ward-Prowse (£6.0m) representing the Saints’ top-scoring players in 2018/19 with 137 and 94 points respectively.
Yet if Adams is able to translate the form he has shown throughout the lower leagues of English football into performances in the Premier League with Southampton, then this could be a player firmly worthy of consideration in the opening Gameweeks of 2019/20.
Upon signing for Southampton, Adams said:
I was watching them play when I was at Birmingham and I liked what Ralph did so I couldn’t say no.
You can see with the track history… the gaffer’s belief in the young players, I want to be part of it.
There was interest in January but it didn’t quite go through but I’m happy now it has.
Hasenhüttl also spoke enthusiastically after confirming the signing of Adams:
He has shown a desire to join us above all other clubs, which shows the positive reputation Southampton has built for developing young players.
The History and Statistics
Born in Leicester in July 1996, Adams’ rapid rise through the lower divisions of English football is testament to not only his unquestionable ability but a work ethic that will certainly have furthered Hasenhüttl’s interest in bringing the player to St Mary’s.
After spells at Oadby Town and Ilkeston before his 18th birthday, Adams earned his first major career move in 2014, after the eyes and ears of Sheffield United were alerted to an immensely promising player plying their trade in the seventh tier of English football.
Under the management of Nigel Clough, the Blades gave Adams his initial opportunity in the English Football League (EFL), with a tepid first season ensuing – the striker made just 13 appearances across the 2014/15 campaign as he saw his minutes managed by Clough, scoring three goals in the process.
The 2015/16 campaign proved to be Adams’ breakthrough year at Bramall Lane, with the striker netting on 11 occasions across 43 games and, in the process, attracting interest from the upper echelons of the EFL – notably Birmingham City and manager Gary Rowett.
Birmingham signed Adams for an undisclosed fee after being impressed by the striker’s performances for the Blades and his 15 goals in 55 appearances for the club. The Englishman had seemingly stepped up at every increased level of competition in his four full seasons as a professional, and Rowett placed his faith in Adams to deliver in the Championship.
This faith was handsomely rewarded as Adams gradually grew into his role leading the line at St Andrew’s, increasing his goalscoring output in successive seasons before delivering an eye-catching, sensational campaign in 2018/19 in which he scored 22 goals in 46 league appearances.
This clinical goalscoring output from a 22-year-old English striker will naturally increase speculation of a potential transfer, but it is Southampton who have secured the services of this highly-rated prospect who will now bid to make yet another step up and deliver in the top-flight of English football.
|Player||Minutes per shot||Minutes per shot in the box||Minutes per shot on target||Minutes per key pass|
Southampton’s signing of Adams has understandably excited the club’s fanbase, and the anticipation surrounding the 22-year-old’s Premier League debut is far from unwarranted.
The club has been crying out for a goalscoring number nine since the departure of Graziano Pelle in 2016, and in Adams, the Saints may have found a player capable of filling the attacking void vacated by the Italian following his transfer to Chinese Super League side Shandong Luneng.
Adams’ minutes-per-shot on target average was superior to any of Southampton’s attacking quartet from the 2018/19 campaign, whilst the striker also ranks top for minutes per key pass – underlining his potential for valuable assists in the spectrum of FPL points.
A total of 74 shots in the box throughout the 2018/19 season would have placed Adams joint-fifth in the Premier League standings from the previous campaign, level with Jamie Vardy (£9.0m) and above the likes of Harry Kane (£11.0m) and Alexandre Lacazette (£9.5m).
The usual big disclaimer applies regarding these figures, of course, with Adams having registered them in the second tier with Birmingham.
The value that Adams could offer managers is evident from his final campaign with Birmingham, a team who didn’t feature in the Championship promotion picture (although a points deduction saw to that) and who scored just 64 times throughout the season, with Adams accounting for 34% of the team’s goals.
Yet central to determining the striker’s potential as a value-for-money £6.0m forward in Gameweek 1 squad for 2019/20 remain the questions over Southampton’s attacking abilities as a unit.
Shane Long (£5.0m) and Charlie Austin (£6.0m) have struggled for the Saints since arriving on the south coast, whilst injury in Ings’ first season at St Mary’s as a Liverpool loanee disrupted any potential for a consistent stream of minutes and form.
The club tying down Ings on a permanent deal from Liverpool alongside the signing of Djenepo from Standard Liege is a clear indicator of their intentions for the upcoming campaign, and if Adams can play his part in this trident of new attacking signings then the Saints could be set for an impressive year in Hasenhüttl’s first full season in charge at St Mary’s.
At a price of £6.0m, Adams (whose ownership is 1.6%) is placed alongside the likes of Glenn Murray (4.1%), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (4.8%) and teammate Ings (3.0%) who currently form the three most popular £6.0m strikers in the build-up to GW1.
This level of competition and comparison is important in determining if Adams is offering stronger value than his similarly priced counterparts, yet a decisive element in the striker’s effectiveness as a budget striker will lie in Hasenhüttl’s tactical and formation-based selections.
The Austrian alternated between a 3-4-2-1 and 3-5-2 during the 2018/19 campaign, enabling a sense of defensive solidity whilst deploying differing attacking combinations dependent on the quality and calibre of opposition.
If Hasenhüttl opts to regularly deploy the 3-4-2-1 formation this drastically reduces Adams’ potential for a regular berth in the Southampton starting XI, especially considering the club’s permanent signing of Ings from Liverpool. However, the Saints’ pre-season schedule commenced on Sunday with a 1-1 draw against SCR Altach in Austria, with Adams making his Southampton debut and scoring inside two minutes with a clinical low drive from 18 yards.
Hasenhüttl’s decision to deploy a 4-2-2-2 formation (his favoured system in Germany) in the club’s first game of pre-season could be indicative of the Austrian’s plans for the 2019/20 season. Adams’ impressive performance as part of a two-strong strike force will only strengthen his chances of starting for the Saints when they face Burnley on August 10th.
Adams’ total number of goals scored last year (22) surpassed the combined goalscoring output of Southampton’s four main attacking options (Long, Ings, Redmond and Austin) who scored 20 league goals between them, and it is evident that the Saints have signed a player with an eye for goal and who could fit seamlessly into Hasenhüttl’s attacking plans for the upcoming Premier League campaign.
Southampton’s opening five fixtures of the 2019/20 campaign present a dilemma for FPL managers who may be considering investing in their assets, with attractive games against Burnley, Brighton and Sheffield United juxtaposed against the visits of Manchester United and Liverpool to St Mary’s.
In these games last year, excluding the fixture against newly-promoted Sheffield United, Southampton won a total of five points, having laboured to a 1-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion whilst drawing 1-1 and 2-2 with Burnley and Manchester United respectively; the Saints also were defeated 3-1 by Liverpool in April.
The fact that Hasenhüttl’s side scored in each of these games last season and will fancy their chances of doing so against newly-promoted Sheffield United is a promising omen for those considering investing in Southampton’s attacking assets, but selecting the most consistent forward around Adams’ price presents a difficult dilemma for managers.
Given the number of £6.0m strikers in 2019/20 – the most common price-tag for forwards in the game – investment in Adams would represent an unquestionable risk but a gamble that could pay rewarding dividends given the player’s initial pre-season form as well as three attractive fixtures in the Saints’ first five.
This may be a case of “wait and see” for sanctioning Adams’ inclusion in your squad for the initial stages of the 2019/20 campaign but the former Birmingham striker is worth monitoring at the very least – particularly for those Fantasy managers who are going light up front.
Become a Member and get unrestricted access to our data and articles
Full-year memberships are now available for the price of £17.50. Monthly subscriptions also cost just £2.99.
Join now to get the following:
- Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
- Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
- Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
- Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
- Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
- Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
- Enjoy our brand NEW Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
- View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
- Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.