Mark Hughes would love to make Xherdan Shaqiri his first big signing for Southampton, according to reports.
Hughes signed the Swiss star for Stoke in 2015 from Inter Milan, and the Daily Star says he wants a reunion with attacking midfielder.
Seven goals this season for the under-performing Potters underline Shaqiri’s value.
He cost then-Stoke boss Hughes £12m and is worth almost double that amount now.
As Stoke bid to avoid relegation from the Premier League, wideman Shaqiri has often looked on a different level to the rest of the team.
Should they go down no-one could blame a world class player of his natural ability wanting better than the Championship.
At 26, Shaqiri still has bags to offer and he would inject the pace and spark that Southampton have been missing this season.
Saints – who were not considered relegation candidates at the start of the season – currently sit just one place above Stoke, also in the Prem’s bottom three.
But Hughes’ appointment following Mauricio Pellegrino’s sacking has brought new optimist that they could beat the drop.
Interestingly, Shaqiri’s seven goals would leave him as Southampton’s top goalscorer in the top flight.
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He also has six assists – double the number of any of the Saints’ players.
Dusan Tadic, Nathan Redmond and Ryan Bertrand all have just three.
Hughes has eight games to secure Southampton’s safety after Pellegrino earned just five league wins all season.
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The Welshman, 54, earned his first victory as Saints beat Wigan to book an FA Cup semi-final place against Chelsea.
Hughes’ short-term deal is set to expire in the summer but keeping Southampton up in the Premier League will see the Welshman earn an extension.