FREDDY Adu’s agent has refused to close the door on the American superstar making a shock move to St Mary’s.
Rumours have been circulating online that Saints would like to lure the 21-year-old attacking midfielder, once hailed as the new Pele, to the club.
While that seems an extremely unlikely prospect on the face of it, Adu’s representative, Richard Motzkin, has not ruled out the possibility of a switch at some stage down the line.
The Daily Echo contacted Motzkin about the rumours and asked whether Adu, a Benfica player who is on loan at Greek side Aris Thessaloniki, would be interested in a move to Saints.
Although he wouldn’t be definitively drawn on anything, Motzkin indicated the player would welcome a transfer to England.
The Los Angeles-based agent said: “Regarding the Southampton rumour, what I would say is that playing in England always has been a dream of Freddy’s and it is one that he hopes will happen in the future.”
Adu himself said on his Twitter page, when asked about the speculation, that he was not aware of any interest.
But Motzkin’s statement could provide food for thought for Saints and other clubs in this country, many of which have kept an eye on the Ghana-born player for a number of years.
Adu first burst onto the scene as a 14-year-old, when he signed a professional contract with Major League Soccer side DC United, despite Sir Alex Ferguson trying to secure his services for Manchester United.
At the time, he was hailed as the next big thing in world football.
But Adu’s star has faded enormously and he has not played regular football since leaving the American capital in 2006.
A short spell at fellow MLS franchise Real Salt Lake followed, before Portuguese giants Benfica signed him three years ago.
Things have not worked out well there, though, with most of Adu’s time spent enduring a series of unsuccessful loans around clubs in Europe.
Next season is expected to be a defining one for Adu.
If he cannot gain a real foothold in Europe, as he is desperate to do, a return to MLS is on the cards.
Having slipped out of favour in the USA national team – Adu is not going to this summer’s World Cup – he is in need of regular football somewhere.
But, even if it turned out Saints were seriously interested, a drop to League One would be a lot for Adu, who nearly joined Hull last summer, to swallow and might not be much immediate help to his international chances.
However, optimists will say it could at least provide an entry to the English game, regular football and the possibility of challenging for the Premier League within two years.
But any move to England, particularly this summer, could be beset by a number of problems.
Adu’s loan agreement with Aris runs until next summer and the Greek top-flight side also have an option to buy the player.
But given his lack of appearances for them, it seems unlikely at this stage they would take that up.
However, if a club moved for Adu this summer, they would still likely have to negotiate with Aris, as well as Benfica.
Even if a deal could be thrashed out, there is also the thorny issue of securing a work permit for a player that is currently out of favour with his national team.