KEVIN Keegan wouldn’t be surprised to see Mark Hughes raid former club Stoke in the transfer market this summer.

Already Saints have been heavily linked with a move for Potters attacking midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri and, while the midlands outfit were relegated to the Championship last season, Keegan reckons Hughes will see potential in some of his former players.

“He’ll have a few ideas, won’t he,” the former Saints star, who played for the club in the early 1980s, said about Hughes.

“He’s experienced, and he’ll be going back to the clubs he’s been at, Stoke for one.

“He’ll be looking at players who have impressed him when they’ve played against his teams and he’ll be looking to try and attract the sort of players that Southampton can attract.

“That’s not going to be big big names, it’s going to be the ones who have got something to prove. Younger ones hopefully but it’s likely it’ll be a mixture of experience and youth, which is always good.

“He’s got his own ideas and he’s got a clean piece of paper to work with now.

“The relegation has been fought off, now you start level with every other team next season.

“I expect Southampton to finish mid-table next year and maybe in the top half.”

The former Newcastle, England, Manchester City and Fulham boss, who scored 42 goals in 80 games for Saints in the early 1980s, speculates centre-back Ryan Shawcross may also be on Hughes’ radar.

The experienced Welshman spent four-and-a-half years at Stoke, but was sacked in January after a poor run of form.

Hughes replaced Mauricio Pellegrino at Saints in March and signed a three-year contract at St Mary’s after keeping the club in the Premier League.

Keegan added: “You’ll see who he goes for, it’ll tell you when he was at Stoke he’ll try and get a couple of the players who he sees as very important, who he thinks is achievable to get from Stoke to Southampton and let’s be honest they’ve gone down.

“He might go for someone like Shawcross, we’ll have to wait and see.”

Keegan was signed by Lawrie McMenemy at Saints in July 1980. It was one of the biggest coups of all-time for the club, as they signed up the two-time Ballon d’Or winner in the prime of his career.

The 67-year-old was impressed by Hughes’ ability to turn Saints around and believes he’s made some of the players into leaders last term.

“He’s made them into leaders because it doesn’t matter how good a manager or leader you are, when that whistle blows the players have to take over,” he said.

“You can’t lead them out there, other than from the touchline shouting, which is okay but most ineffective.

“He’s obviously turned players who were either not in the side into regulars who’ve added to the character of the team.

“That’s what they showed: character.

“You’ve got to battle and scrap and when they went to these away games near the end, they were tough away games against teams who had the same incentive as them: win and stay up.

“You can’t get enough leaders in the dressing room but the good news for Southampton there are not a lot leaders at any other clubs around the bottom of the league.

“That’s why they’re down there.”